Sarah and Yenier Conde are charged with a total of 10 counts of first degree child abuse for allegedly – among other things – keeping their 5 children from getting medical care, threatening them with guns and locking them up, depriving them of food, water and a restroom for hours at a time.
The prosecutor’s office says the abuse is alleged to have occurred between June 2011 and June 2017 at the Conde’s former address and their current one on Clifford Street in Lansing.
According to the lead detective on the case, Children’s Protective Services visited the Conde home several times after complaints were made.
In court documents, the detective described two visits that happened in January and May in 2017.
During a CPS investigation, Yenier admitted to locking his children in – what they referred to as – the dungeon, and told investigators that if locking the kids up was a crime, then he’s take whatever’s coming his way.
In addition, one of their children told CPS investigators that Sarah, his mother, threatened to shoot him and his siblings after they flooded the bathroom with water.
6 News reached out to a spokesperson with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Monday to ask at what point a CPS investigator would be required to go to the court about alleged, or observed abuse.
Bob Wheaton responded in a statement on behalf of CPS, the following:
“The number of complaints may provide background helpful to the worker in their investigation. An evaluation of that history may also help to inform the need for service intervention. However, the number of complaints received does not, in and of itself, require a court petition.
There is legal guidance that dictates when a worker is required to petition the court to either ask for court intervention, or to require a request for the court to terminate parental rights (see MCL 722.637 Sec. 17 and 722.838 Sec. 18).
Workers would also be compelled to petition the court if they believe that a child cannot safely remain in their caregiver’s home, and there are no other options (in terms of relatives/friends assisting in the care of the child, while the caregiver/family addresses the concerns identified) for the child(ren). In those cases, the worker would draft a petition, review the allegations with county supervision and then file the petition with the court. The court would then make a determination following a preliminary hearing. The parents, alleged child victims and the department would have legal representation during this hearing.”
At this point, the Conde’s children are in foster care, while the Condes await a hearing to see if their parental rights will be terminated.
Sarah Conde will be back in court for a pre-trial hearing Friday, while Yenier Conde’s pre-trial hearing is planned for August 10.
Both face a potential life sentence if they’re convicted on those first degree child abuse charges.