Wayne Sperling (left); Lorinda Bailey (right)
DENVER - Police have charged the mother and father of four children under the age of 6 with felony child abuse, after an ER doctor reported a 2-year-old brought in with a cut on the head was unwashed, non-verbal and smelled of cigarette smoke, according to an affidavit obtained by 9Wants to Know.
Wayne Sperling, 66, and Lorinda Bailey, 35, both of Denver, face multiple counts of felony child abuse. Both had previously pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child abuse in 2009.
The arrest affidavit for the couple describes the home where the children, ages 2, 4, 5 and 6 years old, as having an "overwhelming" smell of cat urine and feces. Investigators say they found 1-2 inches of cat feces under the bunk bed where the children slept and described the stench inside the apartment as "unbearable."
The father admitted to police investigators there were 6 or 7 cats living in the apartment and reacted to questions about the feces by saying, "looks like human but it's the cats," according to the affidavit. Court records go on to say the home was "littered with dead flies, some of which were still twitching."
The children themselves were described as developmentally delayed. Doctors at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital described the children as "non-verbal" and said none of them were toilet-trained. One officer described how the children were "making infant like noises to each other." He wrote he couldn't determine any age or developmental difference between the three older children.
Sperling told investigators he is the primary caregiver and was "applying to home school" the 6-year-old. Court records also say Sperling told investigators the children have "their own language" and that they "grunt at each other" but are able to "speak to him and Bailey." All of the children were examined after they were taken into custody and were found to be "non-verbal and malnourished."
The couple remains in custody on bonds of $5,000 each. They are scheduled to appear in Denver County courtroom on Tuesday to be formally advised of the charges.
In 2012, 9Wants to Know and the Denver Post looked at children whose abuse led to their deaths.
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