Prosecutors Formally Charge Florida Children’s Book Author Husband of Child Abuse, Imprisoning 3 Children

SEMINOLE COUNTY, FL – State prosecutors formally charged a Seminole County husband and wife on Thursday with child abuse, neglect and forcible confinement after investigators said one of their adopted daughters was hospitalized in January in due to serious abuse.

Jennifer Wolfthal, author of the children’s book “A Real Friend” and her husband Joseph Wolfthal are each charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse, neglect of a child with grievous bodily harm and imprisonment of a child. Jennifer Wolfthal was arrested on January 1 and Joseph Wolfthal was arrested on January 25. Both have pleaded not guilty.

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The Seminole-Brevard County State Attorney’s Office filed formal charges against the couple on Thursday. If they are found guilty, they risk life imprisonment.

The investigation began when an 8-year-old girl was taken to hospital on January 1 in critical condition. She suffered from staph infection, sepsis, kidney and liver failure, open and infected wounds, skin infections, bruises, pneumonia in the lungs and malnutrition, according to the ‘affidavit.

MPs removed a 9-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl from the house and also requested medical treatment for them. The children described being locked in their rooms and receiving heavy punishments, including being forced to write “I’m a fool” over and over again, according to records. The girl had scars and bruises all over her body, MPs said.

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A trial date has not been set and the Wolfthals are prohibited from contact with their children and each other.

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