A New Eagle mother whose 6-year-old son was found shivering, hypothermic, covered in feces and bruises, and wearing only a T-shirt and a diaper in the middle of a wintry road was sentenced Friday to as much as 50 years behind bars.
The mother, 26-year-old Roxanne Taylor, was found guilty July 15 of all charges against her, including two counts each of aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment. Washington County Judge Katherine B. Emery sentenced her to 14 to 50 years in jail.
Ms. Taylor got the sentence she deserved, said Washington County Deputy District Attorney Traci McDonald.
"The facts were horrific," said Ms. McDonald, who heads the county's special victim investigation and prosecution unit. "We had seasoned medical providers and police officers -- people hardened to seeing graphic and horrible things -- who were brought to tears by this case."
Ms. Taylor has maintained her innocence. Her lawyer, Andrew Glasgow, could not be reached for comment Friday night.
The children's father, 34-year-old Edward J. Buckholz, pleaded guilty in June and will be sentenced later this month.
Early one morning in February 2012, a motorist passing Ms. Taylor's home discovered the 6-year-old boy in the road outside his home and stopped to help, according to prosecutors.
After finally reaching Ms. Taylor, who was inside, police and paramedics entered "a house of horrors," Ms. McDonald said. The police noticed an overwhelming stench, and found feces, urine and insects throughout the home, along with many pets -- including two dogs in long-soiled doggie diapers -- that Ms. Taylor kept in the house.
Ms. Taylor led police to a bedroom in which she said her children were sleeping. The room was locked with a chain on the outside, and on the other side of a tall gate inside the door, police and paramedics found the boy's 6-year-old twin sister.
The girl had feces in her hair, under her fingernails and on her hands and feet. Like her brother, she wore diapers and weighed about 30 pounds. Inside the room, police also found overflowing training potties, and padlocks on the closet and toy chest.
Both children showed only appreciation for their rescuers, Ms. McDonald said.
"They just smiled and you could tell from one minute of being around them that all they wanted was someone to pay attention to them, to hug them or smile back at them," she said.
Now in therapeutic foster care, both children have gained weight and have learned to speak, Ms. McDonald said. They say they do not wish to see their parents, or to return to the house in New Eagle, she said.
"They were shown a picture of the house, and they said, 'no, no, no, not that house, not that mommy,' " Ms. McDonald said.
Amy McConnell Schaarsmith: firstname.lastname@example.org.