A Kansas court sentenced a Christian missionary couple to 32 months in prison following nearly two years of trial for beating their adopted children. James and Paige Nachtigal were found to have committed several child abuse violations in doling out Bible-based punishments to their children.
The three adopted children, who were originally from Peru, reportedly received beatings for not doing their homework since the couple considered it a sin. The children also got punished if they failed to exercise properly.
Aside from that, the pair also deprived them of food, thus two of them were underweight. Reports revealed that the children might have died at the hands of their adoptive parents if one of them had not managed to escape and tell the authorities that he feared going home.
North Newton Police Chief Randy Jordan took custody of the adopted children following an investigation into the couple's home on February 2016. He also testified against the Nachtigals in court.
Pediatrician Kerri Weeks also examined the children and described their condition as "extremely severe." Since they had not been eating food regularly, their bodies apparently did not process food well when they were fed.
Aside from being underweight, the children had bruises and open sores from the beatings, calloused hands and cracked feet from too much exercise and welts from caning. One of the girls limped because of a broken leg. The children had neither muscles nor fat in their body.
The couple took the kids into their home after doing missionary work in Peru in 2012. Jordan later found out that there had been reports as early as 2014 from the children's school teachers about the Nachtigals treatment but none of these were forwarded to the police for investigation.
Defense attorneys asked that the Nachtigals be put under probation since they had no prior convictions. The couple have taken an Alford plea, which means they can take any deal from state prosecutors and be convicted without ever admitting they were guilty. As a result, the prosecutors dropped other felony charges, thus reducing their sentence.
Two of the children have slowly adjusted in their new families but Jordan said the youngest girl was still struggling and having a hard time coping as she was severely traumatized. Doctors determined she would have a longer recovery period ahead of her.