OGDEN, Utah, Aug. 5, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A Roy couple, accused of abusing their three adopted sons by binding them, confining them in a room for as many as 13 hours a day and withholding food, has pleaded guilty to reduced child abuse charges.
Matthew Earl Waldmiller, 40, and Diane Seifert Waldmiller, 41, previously pleaded not guilty to three counts each of child abuse by intentionally inflicting physical injury, a second-degree felony.
The Waldmillers accepted a plea deal, and on Thursday pleaded guilty in Ogden’s 2nd District Court to one count each of child abuse by intentionally inflicting physical injury.
Their sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 29.
The boys, ages 7 to 11, were restrained with zip ties and had their mouths duct-taped shut, according to court documents. When interviewed, the boys described being bound and beaten, and said if they cried, their clothes would be taken away.
The Waldmillers also had a 2-year-old foster daughter. At the time of their March 17 arrest, police said there was no evidence the toddler had been abused.
The boys also came to the household as foster children before being adopted.
Investigators say the room the boys were held in had no lights. The windows were screwed shut and had been painted black — retribution for an earlier escape which ended when the boys were found dumpster diving for food behind a nearby school.
Roy Police Sgt. Matthew Gwynn told Gephardt Daily in mid-March that the boys were often punished by being served heavily salted rice laced with cayenne pepper, and they weren’t allowed to drink water after 2 p.m.
He said the boys were also denied access to a bathroom, and resorted to relieving themselves in a furnace vent.
“These things do happen from time to time, sadly, but it has been a long time since I’ve seen something like this,” Gwynn said.