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A Kansas couple arrested on child abuse charges for beating and starving three Peruvians orphans they took in are headed to the big house.

James and Paige Nachtigal adopted an 11-year-old boy and two girls, ages 11 and 15, from Peru — the couple was arrested in December when police found the boy wandering barefoot through a field. He told police he was afraid of returning home “because he had sinned,” the Wichita Eagle reports. During interviews, the children relayed a tale of chronic abuse including broken bones and starvation as punishment for misbehavior and unfinished homework. After they were taken away from the Nachtigal’s, a doctor diagnosed the victims of child torture.


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According to the original report, the 11-year-olds weighed less than 60 pounds when they were taken from the Nachtigal’s home. The boy had a life-threatening heart condition that was never diagnosed. Investigators believed that James was responsible for majority of the abuse, but said that he performed the beatings that the behest of his wife.

On Friday, the couple entered a plea deal to multiple counts of child abuse; each count carries a sentence of 31 to 34 months in court. In exchange for their pleas, the state dripped other felony charges against them. Prosecutor David Yoder told the Wichita Eagle that the children had been placed in the care of another foster family and that “one of them is doing very, very well. One of them is still struggling very badly.”

They will appear in court on December 21 for sentencing.

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