AKRON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio woman and her husband were sentenced to prison for endangering and neglecting five of her children, including a 4-year-old with cystic fibrosis who had a dead cockroach in his breathing tube.
The pair from Akron was accused of not regularly feeding the children, tying them to chairs with rope and leaving them, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reported.
Summit County Children’s Services alerted police in September about the condition and alleged neglect of the youngsters, who range from 1 to 15 years old and were found to be underweight. The parents eventually pleaded guilty to child endangering charges.
“Your conduct is appalling,” Summit County Common Pleas Judge Amy Corrigal Jones said Monday before sentencing the mother, Christian Cunard, to three years in prison. “Your conduct as a mother is despicable and you stand here today and blame your choices on someone else.”
Cunard, 42, had tearfully told the judge that her husband ran the family’s finances and wouldn’t pay for the children’s care.
“I wanted to leave so bad but I didn’t have the money,” she said. “He controlled all of us. I love my kids. I’d do anything for them.”
Wayne Cunard, 46, also cried as the judge sent him to prison for a year. He said little in court, aside from a comment that he would forfeit custody of his one biological child, the media group reported.
Wayne Cunard had cooperated with investigators and agreed to testify against his wife, who was believed by authorities to be primarily responsible for how the children were treated, assistant prosecutor Nik Buckmeier said.
Christian Cunard previously lost custody of her children in 2007, but an appeals court had reversed that ruling in 2010.
They are now in foster care, with some of them returning to the foster parents who cared for them years ago.
The child endangerment convictions mean the Cunards won’t get legal custody of the children again, Buckmeier said.