- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2016

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Two of three children adopted from an area of Peru where a Kansas couple worked as missionaries were routinely beaten with a wooden spoon and suffered broken bones at the hands of their adoptive parents, investigators said in a court document released this week.

James Nachtigal and his wife, Paige Nachtigal, both of North Newton, each are charged with a dozen felony counts accusing them of child abuse, aggravated battery and child torture.

Until the couple’s arrest in February, James Nachtigal was CEO of Kansas Christian Home, an elderly care facility in Newton. He was fired soon after charges were filed.

On Wednesday, Harvey County District Judge Joe Dickinson released the arrest affidavit, which details the claims against the couple.

Attorneys for the Nachtigals, who had opposed releasing the document, either declined to comment or failed to return messages left on Thursday by The Associated Press.

Prosecutors and law enforcement have said an 11-year-old boy and his 11-year-old sister suffered brutal, religiously fueled beatings with a cane and a board. They also were “severely malnourished,” weighing 50 and 60 pounds when they and their 15-year-old sister were removed from the family’s home on Feb. 11.

The younger girl was adopted about four years ago, the older girl and the boy were adopted a year later, North Newton police chief Randy Jordan said.

The boy was so terrified of going home from school on Fridays that he begged one of his teachers to let him stay, the affidavit says.

That teacher told police she and her husband had tried to adopt the boy after the Nachtigals said they didn’t want him, but a few days before the adoption was finalized the Nachtigals changed their minds, investigators said.

The two younger children were often forced to stand with their faces toward a wall for hours, investigators said, and the boy was made to sit and write Bible verses for long periods of time as punishment for sinning.

The boy was reported missing on Feb. 5, and later that day a Kansas Highway Patrol officer found him walking barefoot in a field. He told the officer he hadn’t done his homework and had “sinned,” so he was afraid to go home. He didn’t tell the officer about any abuse at the time, and he was returned home.

Medical examinations later revealed that the boy had a broken arm, which possibly happened after he ran away from home on Dec. 9 and was beaten with a cane, Jordan said. The girl had a broken rib, broken right leg and two broken fingers.

Both children also had severe scarring on their backs, buttocks and legs from repeated and long-term beatings, a doctor determined.

The Nachtigals are free on bond. Their next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 1.

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