Fond Du Lac couple charged with 19 counts of abuse and neglect
FOND DU LAC -- One neighbor could only say that her heart was broken.
A mother and father are accused of committing horrific acts of abuse against their children, especially two sons adopted from Africa.
Prosecutors filed 19 charges against Jeana and Troy Riehl; Jeana faces the most significant accusations, investigators say Troy just let it all happen.
"Anytime you deal with child abuse or cases where children are involved, it's emotional," Eric Toney, Fond Du Lac County District Attorney, tells TODAY'S TMJ4. "When we make our decisions on allegations, we base them on information available to us."
The accusations follow years of investigations and interviews, detailed explicitly in court documents obtained by TODAY'S TMJ4.
Prosecutors allege the abuse dates back to 2008 and incidents occurred in multiple houses. Witnesses and victims describe beatings, whippings and starvation. In one instance, a child recalls being locked in a bathroom with no food or water and he could only be let out once a day.
"We had no clue what was going on," said Jodi Hicken, who lived across the street from the Riehls for two years. "I'm a mom and it breaks my heart."
The Riehls have six children, four of whom are biological. The consensus among those interviewed was that Jeana Riehl directed most of her abuse at her two adopted kids.
Jeana and Troy Riehl posted bond and are out of jail; a judge forbid them from making any contact with their children.
They are due back in court March 21.