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Prosecutors previously said that an Ohio stepmother abused a boy while his biological father turned a blind eye, but authorities now claim the woman’s parents also played a role in the horrid mistreatment. The child, now 13, was left looking like a concentration camp survivor, authorities previously claimed.
Step-grandparents Armin Rodriguez and Susan Rodriguez are each charged in Hamilton County, Ohio, with a count of endangering children, and complicity. They “recklessly tortured or cruelly abused the victim,” according to records obtained by WXIX. That allegedly included beating the victim with a belt, withholding food, and forbidding him access to the bathroom while forcing him to stand for hours. The defendants even monitored the boy with cameras, authorities said.
The allegations echoed how the defendants’ daughter Amy Dangel, 45, (named in court records as Amy Rodriguez) allegedly abused the boy. Over a 3-year period starting in 2018, Dangel allegedly beat the victim with belts and spoons, starved him, strapped him to a bed and forced him to stand in a corner for hours on end without access to bathroom. In one incident, she allegedly had the other children in the home count as she struck the boy with a wooden spoon. The children counted to 75, authorities said.
Amy did not give the victim adequate clothing, sheets or blankets for years–and allegedly locked the refrigerator and cabinets in the house to keep him out, authorities said. The boy only weighed 61 pounds at age 12. Authorities now say he walks with a limp, and experiences intense pain and emotional trauma.
“It’s heartbreaking to think that anyone would be abused and much less be abused by somebody that’s trusted and loved,” Delhi Township Police Lt. Joe Macaluso said, according to WXIX. “It was heartbreaking to investigate, and I’m happy that we’re able to have some kind of conclusion with this indictment.”
“The torture perpetrated on this young child is unimaginable,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said. “He is safe now and with family members who love him. I hope, in time, he will heal from the horrible things that have been done to him. We will do everything in our power to ensure no child suffers at the hands of the Rodriguez family again.”
Amy Dangel is charged as the primary abuser, with 11 counts of endangering children. Husband Anthony Dangel, 43–the boy’s biological father–faces a count of endangering children. Prosecutors have described him as an enabler of Amy abusing his son, allegedly standing by and refusing to intervene.
The boy and his younger brother moved in with the Dangels after the children’s mother died in January 2016. The 13-year-old allegedly told hospital workers in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital that the couple abused both him and his younger brother, though prosecutors so far have only filed charges in the case of the older boy.
“They were completely isolated from society,” their maternal aunt Heather Coombs previously told WXIX of the boys. “They were not in school. So teachers couldn’t see, and there was a reason for that.”
Susan and Armin Rodriguez have no attorneys of record. Amy and Anthony Dangel have previously pleaded not guilty.
Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.
[Booking photos via Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office]
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