PD: Mother arrested after 'malnourished' and 'neglected' kids found at CT home

Donna Rodeheffer was arrested after her three children were found living in neglect in July.  (CT State Police)

The mother of three young children found severely neglected was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the abuse. The children's father is also expected to face charges in the case.

Donna Rodeheffer, 33, was charged with three counts of risk of injury to a child and negligent cruelty to persons. Her arrest comes after state police were called to a report of child neglect at a home on Broad Street on July 21.

Troopers said they found a 3-year-old, 5-year-old and 6-year-old, who were still in diapers. State police said the children were "missing many of their teeth," "malnourished," "dehydrated" and "not able to talk."

These three children, who "were found to be very underweight," put in the care of the Department of Children and Families.

During the investigation that started this summer, police said "the children were found with a sickly appearance being undersized, with rotten teeth, yellow toe nails, not in school or potty trained and living in unsanitary conditions."

Rodeheffer told police "she knew it was not normal for victim #1 to not be speaking at this point, but went on to say that she hadn't really thought about it."

The arrest warrant also states "none of the victims have ever been to the doctor for a regular checkup" and "the victims have never seen a dentist."

According to the arrest warrant, all of them lived in the home along with the children's grandmother. Police learned that the three children "had rarely left the walls of the Danielson residence and none of the children had ever been enrolled in school."

Neighbors told Eyewitness News what they saw in their neighborhood.

"The children coming and going was very rare. They rarely came outside," Robin Lazor, of Danielson, said. "They were in the house most of the time.

The arrest warrant also mentioned the kids wouldn't go to bed until 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. and would sleep until late afternoon.

During their investigation, police "determined to have been extremely neglected."

Police believe the two little girls were victims of sexual abuse or exploitation.

Police said the children's father 23-year-old Nicolas Emory was being held in prison in Arizona on child pornography-related charges after an investigation by the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit. After Nicolas Emory is brought back to Connecticut, police said he will be charged in the Danielson case.

Emory was arrested with the children's uncles, Jason Matthew Emory, 38, James Kyle Emory, 32, on Nov. 9 in Fort Mohave.

"They weren't going to school or anything like that, never saw any play groups so it was hard," Lazor said.

While the siblings were now in foster care, neighbors said they hope they can have a better life.

"Let them know what it's like to be unconditionally loved and not be violated or anything expected to them other than they are kids," Lazor said.

Rodeheffer, who's last listed address was Webster, MA, was arraigned at Danielson Superior Court on Tuesday. She was released on a $75,000 bond.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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