News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

November 29, 2012

Terre Haute couple faces 11 charges tied to child neglect, confinement

TERRE HAUTE — A Terre Haute couple — charged with multiple counts of child neglect and criminal confinement for allegedly tying some of their children to beds and denying the youths food — have a history of marital discord.

Larry Russell, 39, was arrested in June for domestic battery in the presence of a child. His wife Nikki Russell, 35, was the victim. A court record shows that at least two of their five children were present in the home when a 911 dispatcher heard a woman yell “just kill me” followed by two gunshots.

Larry and Nikki Russell face six counts of child neglect and five counts of criminal confinement for unrelated actions at their North 12th Street home. Police arrested the couple Friday when their 17-year-old adopted son reported abuse allegations after he escaped the home by jumping from a second story window on the day after Thanksgiving.

Nikki Russell also faces two counts of battery by bodily waste and one count of battery resulting in bodily injury for a total of 14 criminal charges.

Each defendant faces about 48 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

The five children in the home — ranging in age from 10 to 17 — are now considered Children In Need of Services, and are in the care of the state Department of Child Services, said Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt on Wednesday.

Ironically, four of the Russell’s children had been foster children when placed with the Russells by DCS. Modesitt said that the Russell’s adoption of the oldest child occurred in 2008, while adoption of the three younger children was court-approved in April.

A DCS spokesperson told the Tribune-Star that the Russells are no longer foster parents, but they had passed background checks, completed foster parent training and passed a home inspection before they were certified as foster parents.

“A prison cell”

Detective Travis Chesshir said Wednesday following the Russell’s court appearance that the conditions he saw in one bedroom of the North 12th Street home were like “a prison cell.”

“I saw no personal belongings for any children,” Chesshir said.

The room where three of the boys stayed contained only three beds, including a bunk bed, he said. “There were no clothes. There was nothing on the walls.”

Police investigating the allegations made by the 17-year-old found rope and duct tape in the bedroom where the boy said he and his brothers were tied to the beds.

The youths were allegedly often padlocked inside their bedroom without access to bathroom facilities. Three of the class-C felony allegations of neglect of a dependent state that the children were deprived “of necessary food, water and/or sanitary facilities.”

The teen told police that another boy and girl in the home were allowed to eat a “Thanksgiving feast” with Larry and Nikki Russell on Nov. 22, but the teen and two other adopted boys were kept locked in their bedroom. They were reportedly given only two burritos and a half-glass of water to share on that day.

Underweight teen

The 17-year-old boy weighed 93 pounds when he was examined at Union Hospital, Chesshir said. The teen had been taken to the hospital by a passerby who stopped to assist the shoeless youth, who was wearing only a T-shirt and pajama pants when he escaped from the home.

Chesshir described the teen as “skinny. He wanted a lot to eat and a lot to drink.”

But hospital personnel warned against feeding the teen too much due to his condition.

“He was well-spoken,” Chesshir said of the boy’s demeanor when the teen reported his alleged homelife to police. “He just remained quiet unless spoken to.”

The criminal charges read Wednesday in court give a time range of Aug. 23 to Nov. 23 for some of the crimes that allegedly occurred. Modesitt said that as the investigation continues and more evidence is collected, that time frame may be amended.

“It appears it’s been ongoing for quite some time, at least six months,” Chesshir said of the withholding of food from the teen.

Looking for

the beginning


Modesitt said investigators are trying to determine when the alleged crimes against the children began. Interviews with the children were scheduled for Wednesday, police said, and the investigation will continue as police talk to more people who may have had contact with the family.

The family had moved into their present home on 12th Street in the spring, police report.

The 12th and 13th criminal counts filed against Nikki Russell — battery by bodily waste — stem from allegations that she poured urine from a bottle on two of the boys while they were in the bathtub. One child told police that the boys urinated into a bottle in their bedroom because they had no access to the bathroom.

Police were also told that one of the boys had a diaper-like garment duct taped to him at night by Nikki Russell as punishment.

The 14th criminal count against Nikki Russell — battery resulting in bodily injury — stems from the allegation that on Nov. 22, she “backhanded” one of the boys in the face, causing his nose to bleed. Police reported that dried blood was found on the boy’s face and pooled in his ear when he was examined at the hospital on Nov. 23.

History of the couple

Modesitt said Wednesday that he had not yet received information on how long the Russells have been married.

The domestic violence incident in May resulted in Larry Russell’s arrest after police responded to the home. Officers found a .22-caliber handgun that Russell said was his, but he denied shooting the gun or putting his hands on Nikki.

She told police, however, that she and her husband had argued and he shoved her in the chest while she was sitting in a rocking chair, causing the chair to flip over. She sustained scratches to her back.

In a letter that Nikki Russell wrote to Division 4 court in June after the domestic violence charge was filed, she asked Judge Christopher Newton to drop the criminal charge so that Larry could return home to his family.

Her handwritten letter stated that she and Larry had been “together 17 years” and that they had five children between them and two grandchildren. She also said that she regretted the incident that occurred in May, and she called Larry “the backbone of our family.”

On July 9, a no-contact order in the case was vacated.

The domestic battery case was deferred by court agreement in September, with possible dismissal set for next year.

Larry Russell had also had a prior arrest for battery resulting in bodily injury filed in June 1996, court records show. That case was also deferred in December 1996. It was dismissed in May 2000.

Back in court

Larry Russell is next scheduled to appear in court on Monday when he meets with his public defender, Mike Ellis.

Nikki Russell will return to court Dec. 7 for a hearing with public defender Vernon Lorenz.

During Wednesday’s court hearing, Russell asked Judge Lewis to be released so he can continue to work at a Terre Haute printing company.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rob Roberts objected to that request.

“Since I anticipate additional charges being filed beyond this, there is no way the state will agree” to his release, Roberts said.

The judge denied the bond reduction request.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • MET072914leo screen.jpg Slick’s debut

    Bobby “Slick” Leonard was the main attraction but his hometown, Terre Haute, was constantly in the background as friends, fans and family gathered in Indianapolis Tuesday night to honor the man famous for the words “Boom Baby.”

    July 29, 2014 8 Photos

  • MET 072914 TAJIMI YANASE.jpg Sister-city students get a dose of ‘new culture’

    One of Juri Sawada’s dreams has been to visit America.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Motion delays trial for 2012 homicide

    A man who has been jailed about 20 months in connection with the homicide of his wife will not go on trial next week as scheduled.

    July 29, 2014

  • Sheriff charged in prostitution case

    Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden has spent more than 30 years in law enforcement working to protect the public from criminals, but on Tuesday he was treated as one.

    July 29, 2014 1 Story

  • maple candy closeup.jpg Vigo Parks dishing out the sweetness

    Vigo County Parks and Recreation has made a “sweet” addition to its maple syrup production at Prairie Creek Park.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Danny Rodden indicted on federal charges

    Instead of overseeing the operations of the Clark County jail and police force Tuesday, Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden found himself being transported by the FBI to Indianapolis to answer federal charges.

    July 29, 2014 1 Story

  • Woman’s condition ‘fair’ after grocery store wreck

    A Terre Haute woman was listed in fair condition Tuesday at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis as the result of injuries sustained in Monday’s accident on the Baesler’s Market parking lot.

    July 29, 2014

  • Semi driver cited for alcohol use

    A commercial vehicle driver has been placed out of service after he tested positive for alcohol consumption during a Tuesday morning traffic stop in Sullivan County.

    July 29, 2014

  • Church to give out school backpacks

    United Methodist Temple will stage its first-ever Back-2-School Bash from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 9.
    The church is located at 5301 S. U.S. 41.

    July 29, 2014

  • Elderly woman in fair condition after accident in Baesler’s lot

    An 80-year-old Terre Haute woman is listed in fair condition today at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis as the result of injuries sustained in Monday’s accident on the Baesler’s Market parking lot.

    July 29, 2014

  • 2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A video camera captured the terrifying plight of two women who became trapped on an 80-foot-high railroad bridge by a freight train that surprised them as they walked along the tracks.

    July 29, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 29, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on jail records.

    July 29, 2014

  • Illinois to ask voters about taxing millionaires

    BERWYN, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation allowing voters to weigh in on whether Illinois millionaires should pay more income tax.

    July 29, 2014

  • Illinois woman dies retrieving phone from fire

    BARTONVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a central Illinois woman is dead after running back into her burning home to get her cell phone. A police officer who tried to save her was hospitalized.

    July 29, 2014

  • Ivy Tech names Jeff Fanter senior VP, Anne Valentine VP

    Ivy Tech Community College President Thomas J. Snyder announced the promotion of Jeff Fanter to the role of senior vice president for student experience, communications and marketing and Anne Valentine to the role of vice president for student experience and customer service.

    July 29, 2014

  • Change in traffic patterns at U.S. 41 intersection improvement project

    VIGO COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation reminds motorists the intersection improvement project on U.S. 41 from just south of Interstate 70 to just south of Johnson Drive has switched traffic phases. Traffic is prohibited from turning left off of U.S. 41 at both Johnson and Davis Drives.

    July 29, 2014

  • IU commemorating WWI centennial in 2014-15

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana University plans to spend the upcoming academic year exploring the lingering impact of World War I.

    July 29, 2014

  • Indiana higher ed chief rolls out class load campaign

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s higher education commissioner wants college students to get the message that they should take at least 15 credit hours each semester if they expect to graduate on time.

    July 29, 2014

  • Indiana higher ed chief rolls out class load campaign

    Indiana's higher education commissioner wants college students to get the message that they should take at least 15 credit hours each semester if they expect to graduate on time.

    July 29, 2014

  • MET 072814 BUS MEYERROSE.jpg Bus safety features

    New safety features on South Vermillion School Corp. buses have led to fewer disciplinary problems and fewer incidents of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses, officials say.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Pendergast.jpg Humvee driver says foot caused fatal accident

    Kyle Pendergast, 22, the Terre Haute driver of a black Humvee charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing the death of a teenager, has told police he could not turn the wheel before the vehicle flipped in a field in an early Saturday morning accident.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 072814 CONTAMINATED Cleaner may have contaminated water

    Groundwater and soil testing is set to begin within a week to learn whether toxic chemicals might have seeped into the wells of a small southside neighborhood and even beyond.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Housing Authority’s Warren Village nearing completion

    Construction on the newest Terre Haute Housing Authority property – Warren Village – should wrap up next month, a housing authority official said Monday.

    July 29, 2014

  • rush-hr.jpg Observers predict ‘wide open’ process of picking next chief

    State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson surprised observers in June when he decided to step down after a brief tenure as the state’s top judge.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Multi-vehicle accident in parking lot

    A woman was hospitalized with injuries after a multiple-vehicle accident late Monday morning in the Baesler’s Market parking lot on Poplar Street

    July 29, 2014

  • Old National acquires Michigan bank

    Evansville-based Old National Bancorp and Grand Rapids-based Founders Financial Corp. said Monday they have finalized an agreement under which Old National will acquire Founders through a stock and cash merger.

    July 28, 2014

  • Ohio man falls to death at Cataract Falls rec area

    Indiana conservation officers are investigating the death of an Ohio man that occurred at about 4:10 p.m. Sunday at Cataract Falls State Recreation Area in Owen County.

    July 28, 2014

  • 65,000 chickens die in rural Indiana fire

    WARSAW, Ind. (AP) — Thousands of chickens have been killed in a fire on a northern Indiana farm.

    July 28, 2014

  • One person hospitalized after parking lot pile-up

    A woman was hospitalized with injuries after an accident late this morning in the Baesler’s Market parking lot.

    July 28, 2014

  • Indiana teachers worry about revamped ISTEP test

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana teachers are heading back to classrooms starting this week and face the daunting task of preparing students for a standardized test that’s been retooled three times since 2009.

    July 28, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Raw: Earthquake Rocks Mexico's Gulf Coast Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Judge OKs Record-setting $2B Sale of Clipper Mother of 2 Makes NFL Cheerleading Squad at 40 Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con Today in History for July 29th Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Two women barely avoid being hit by train Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity