ROY, Utah, March 28, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — More troubling details are emerging in the case of a Roy couple who police say admitted to abusing the three boys they fostered, then adopted.
Matthew and Diane Waldmiller, ages 40 and 41, were formally charged Tuesday in Ogden’s Second District Court.
The charges against each of them are three counts of child abuses, a second-degree felony, intentionally or knowingly inflicting serious physical injury upon a child, or having custody of the child and causing or allowing someone else to harm him or her.
The Waldmillers also had a younger foster daughter, who reportedly was not abused in the same manner. All four children were taken into state custody.
Roy police investigated the home on Nov. 17 after a tip — reportedly from an extended family member — which reported neglect. Police investigators made observations and interviewed the boys, then reported findings in a court document.
The document states that the boys, ages 7, 10 and 11, were taken out of school and confined starting at 6 each night to a bedroom that smelled of urine and feces, and which had visible black mold.
They were denied water after 2 p.m., and were found to be malnourished.
“The 10-year-old disclosed that he has to perform physical exercises to earn food and to read,” the charging document said.
“He stated that his clothing is taken away if he cries and it is thrown away. He stated that his 7-year-old brother has his wrists zip-tied for safety. He stated that both Matthew and Diane did this to the 7-year-old.
“The 11-year-old disclosed that he and his brothers are given ‘night pills’ to sleep. He stated that he and his brothers have been hit with a 2 by 4 piece of wood on the ‘butt.’ He disclosed that Diane hit him on the nose and caused it to bleed. He stated that he has escaped the house to ‘dumpster dive’ through their window. When he was caught he was forced by his father to eat rice with cayenne and salt on it as punishment.”
“He further described that he was zip tied in a ‘hog tie’ style and put in a suitcase for a month period of time,” the statement continued. “This was done by both Matthew and Diane according to him.”
A nurse practitioner who examined the boys reported that the 10-year-old showed signs of edema on his legs, a bump on his head, pressure sores on his hands, and various bruising.
The 11-year-old had four marks consistent with fingermarks on his inner bicep. The 7 and 10-year-olds both had ligature marks on their wrists consistent with zip-tie use.
All three children had bald spots on their scalp and were underweight, according to the nurse practitioner.
“Matthew and Diane were interviewed separately after waiving their constitutional rights per Miranda,” the investigators’ statement said. “Both waived their rights and agreed to speak to us. Diane admitted to locking all three children in their bedroom for 10 to 13 hours without breaks. Diane admitted to tying all three children’s wrists with zip-ties approximately 30 times (between the dates of Nov. 1, 2016, and March 22, 2017) behind the children’s backs, leaving injuries to their wrists.”
Matthew Waldmiller admitted the light bulb was removed from the light fixture, but he had since returned it, and the windows were still blacked out but were not screwed shut anymore. The mattresses also had bedding and bed frames, according to police.
Diane Waldmiller reportedly gave police hundreds of unused zip ties and a roll of duct tape.
Diane Waldmiller admitted using duct tape on the children’ faces, leaving only their noses exposed, the report said. Tape removal may have caused the hair loss, officers speculated.
Matthew Waldmiller also admitted to confining the boys for 10 to 13 hours without a break using duct tape on their faces, and to “feeding the children rice with large amounts of salt and cayenne pepper as punishment,” according to charging documents.