This week saw the first hearing in the child abuse case of Wayne Sperling, 66, and Lorinda Bailey, 35, Denver parents who allegedly left their children, ages 2, 4, 5, and 6, malnourished and living in disgusting conditions. The boys could only talk in grunts; they weren't toilet-trained, and feces were strewn throughout their apartment home. The boys were saved from the apartment late last month, the AP notes, though child protection officials knew about the family for more than a year, the Denver Post reports.
A family lawyer working near the home says he called child abuse services twice—once in 2012, and once this year—regarding his concerns, but the calls weren't investigated. Even before that, both parents had pleaded guilty to child abuse in both 2006 and 2009. Finally, doctors' suspicions were aroused on Sept. 29 when Bailey brought one child in to have a cut treated; the injury, as well as the child's condition, raised red flags, 7 News notes. Now, the state child protection ombudsman is investigating the delayed rescue, the Post reports. There's still, however, a chance for the kids to recover to a degree—though it'll be a tough path, an expert tells the AP: "They need good therapists and good caregivers," she says, but, "people change beyond my wildest imaginings sometimes." (Read more Denver stories.)