A Florida children’s book author and her husband have been arrested on a slew of charges accusing them of abusing and neglecting their three adopted children, one of whom spent weeks in hospital recovering from her illness. injuries and its ailments.
Jennifer Wolfthal, 41, of Casselberry, was initially arrested on New Years Day on charges of aggravated child abuse, negligence with grievous bodily harm and assault and battery.
On Tuesday, she was arrested again on three counts of forcible confinement.
Jennifer Wolfthal, 41 (left) and Joseph Wolfthal, 39 (right), have been charged with forcible confinement, aggravated child abuse and neglect with bodily harm for allegedly mistreating their three adopted children.
In November, Jennifer published a children’s book called A Real Friend, which tells the story of two best friends who fight.
Police observed that the door handles for children’s rooms inside the family home in Casselberry, Fla. (Pictured) were installed with the locking mechanism on the outside
A day earlier, the woman’s husband, Joseph Wolfthal, 39, had been held in Seminole County Jail for aggravated abuse, neglect with bodily harm and forcible confinement.
According to a detailed arrest report, the incident began around 2:30 p.m. on January 1, when police were called to Advent Hospital in Winter Park with a medical issue involving an eight-year-old girl.
The responding officer learned from a child welfare investigator at the hospital that the girl had been brought to the facility by her father, Joseph Wolfthal, and was “gravely ill” .
The Wolfthal’s adopted daughter was diagnosed with kidney and liver failure, sepsis, staph infection, infected open wounds on both legs, and pneumonia in both lungs.
The long list of childhood illnesses also included malnutrition, bruising and skin infections, which required weeks of treatment.
During the investigation, police wrote that they discovered evidence of abuse targeting not only the eight-year-old victim but also the two other adopted children of the Wolfthal couple: a nine-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl. .
The young girl said that “she did not want to go back to her parents and on several occasions she referred to herself saying that according to her parents she” could not stop sinning “, which the police claimed to be something the Wolfthals would tell their daughter whenever she was punished.
The 11-year-old told police she would be penalized for not going to the bathroom at the “proper times”, for wetting her bed, for not doing her exercises, which involved doing squats, and for not having taken his meals, which consisted of a mixture of cereal, bran flakes, water and mashed vegetables, according to the arrest report.
‘The [girl] said there were days when she was twice fed and sometimes she did not have her first meal until “3 in the afternoon,” police wrote.
When officers searched the family’s home on Kindling Court in Casselberry, they reportedly found the girl’s writings, which read: “My body stays flat on the bed at all times.” I never had permission to move or say anything. Now I can write about it along with everything else. I’m stupid.’
According to her biography posted on Amazon.com, Jennifer graduated in elementary education and spent eight years teaching fourth grade at a public school.
The 11-year-old girl and the nine-year-old boy both told police that every night they would have cold water poured over them while they were lying in bed as punishment, according to the report.
According to the girl, she had not interacted with her siblings or with adults other than her parents for several years, and she “tried to keep track of the days and months by counting in her head,” says The report.
She also claimed that she had not taken a bath for months and would be refused bandages for her open wounds.
The officer observed that the door handles of the children’s rooms were installed with the locking mechanism on the outside, and said it was evident, after talking to the children, that “they were afraid to leave their homes. room even at night to use the bathroom and therefore would “pee in their pants” and sleep in them almost every day rather than risk leaving their room or communicating with each other, “the report revealed.
A judge on Tuesday set Joseph’s bail at $ 210,000. He is due to return to court for his arraignment on March 9. His wife is being held in prison without bail.
In November, Jennifer published a children’s book called A Real Friend, which tells the story of two best friends who have an argument.
According to her biography posted on Amazon.com, Jennifer graduated in elementary education from the University of Central Florida and spent eight years teaching fourth grade at a public school.
“She continued her teaching journey by homeschooling her own children,” the post said.
Following Jennifer’s arrest this month, her publisher released a statement saying he would stop marketing her book.
“At Clavis, we believe children are beautiful and deserve our utmost respect and care,” the statement read. “We have been informed of horrific news regarding the arrest of Clavis author Jennifer Wolfthal and strongly condemn child abuse, abandonment and neglect, today and always.”