A children’s book author and her husband who allegedly subjected their adopted children to devastating long-term abuse were taken into custody in Seminole County.
Joseph and Jennifer Wolfthal have a home in Casselberry with their 9-year-old boy and two girls, ages 8 and 11. The Wolfthals adopted all three children in 2014.
Jennifer, who spent 8-years as a 4th-grade teacher, recently published a children’s book titled “A Real Friend.”
On New Year’s Day, Joseph brought the couple’s 8-year-old girl to a Winter Park hospital for medical treatment.
The doctors assessed the girl and said that she was malnourished and in critical condition. They reported that she was suffering from organ failure of the liver and kidneys, pneumonia, a staph infection, and infections from injuries on her legs.
The hospital’s Child Protective Services investigator spoke with the authorities about the youngster’s condition, and the police began gathering information about the possible cause.
When detectives talked to the other two children, the youngsters reportedly told them that had often been forced to stay alone in their bedrooms, where the doors allegedly had locks on the outside.
The children also reported that they were deprived of food, water, and bathing for extended periods and that their parents often doused them with cold water when they were in bed.
The 11-year-old allegedly said that the reason the children were treated this way was that they “couldn’t stop sinning.”
The authorities asserted that all of the children were horribly abused in several ways, some of which included being left in their excrement while being forced to stay in their beds.
Joseph was taken into custody and accused of aggravated child abuse, neglect with bodily harm, and false imprisonment. His bond was set at $210,000.
Jennifer was placed under arrest the next day for suspicion of aggravated child abuse, neglect with great bodily harm, and battery, and later released on bail.
On January 26, Jennifer was arrested again, and she is expected to face additional charges for three counts of false imprisonment. She is being held without bail.
Joseph posted bail the same day Jennifer was jailed, and he has alleged that Jennifer was the one who abused the children.
The 8-year-old is still in the hospital, and it was reported that she is in serious condition.
Joseph and Jennifer are reportedly getting a divorce, and Joseph is asking that he be awarded custody of the children.
If you or someone you love is suspected of a domestic violence offense, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.