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Pair Charged After Severe Child Abuse Claims

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A man and woman who face felony charges after accusations of abuse and neglect of the woman’s children bonded out of jail Monday.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A man and woman who face felony charges after accusations of abuse and neglect of the woman’s children bonded out of jail Monday.

Kaylah Hill, 25, and Dustin Richard, 29, both of Springfield, are charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of a child and two charges of abuse or neglect of a child.

"This was a lengthy investigation," prosecuting attorney Stephanie Wan said. "There were multiple interviews with the children, investigation and medical records to be collected and other records to be collected."

The charges come after a 4-month investigation began when Hill’s then 3-year-old daughter, she is now 4, was taken to the hospital by her grandmother. The child was found to be malnourished and suffering multiple sores, abrasions and wounds, according to a probable cause statement.

Court records show the child was taken into custody and hospitalized to be treated for various injuries and a dietary condition caused by inadequate protein.

Six other children were also removed from the couple's north Springfield home.

"Child abuse and neglect is taken seriously by my office, by law enforcement agencies and they work consistently -- extremely hard -- to make sure the investigations are thorough and that we are not going to be resting investigations on the backs of children," Wan said.

In an interview with police, the child’s doctor said she may have been suffering from malnourishment for several months prior to her admittance to the hospital on Dec. 26, 2013.

A 7-year-old child was also interviewed after teachers told investigators he ate three or four meals a day at school and told them he wasn't being fed at home.

The documents also show Social Services Children's Division investigators made 16 attempts to contact the family prior to Dec. 26.

Attorney Kyle Wyatt represents Hill and Richard and said the two deny the allegations.

"They've been cooperating with authorities from the very beginning, they volunteered their time to go speak to Springfield PD on their on accord without any warrant," Hill said. "They have maintained that they have nothing to hide. Their single solemn goal is to be reunified with their children."

Both Hill and Richard posted their $25,000 bond and will appear in court for a bond reduction hearing on April 3, 2014.

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