Custody of allegedly abused twins taken from adoptive parents

Jeffrey and Sandra Weller accused of starving, beating teens

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: October 20, 2011, 9:32 PM

 

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A Clark County judge has ruled that twin teens allegedly abused by their adoptive parents, Jeffrey and Sandra Weller, will stay in protective custody for now.

Superior Court Judge Scott Collier said Thursday the 16-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, will remain in foster care, as well as two other children in the Weller home, a 10-year-old boy and 4-year-old boy.

Two additional boys, ages 14 and 12, were placed with a family member locally, said a Department of Social and Health Services spokeswoman.

A review date on the placement of the four children in foster care is set for Nov. 14.

Of the six children in the Weller home, Sandra Weller, 48, and Jeffrey Weller, 42, are the biological parents of the 4-year-old boy; Jeff Weller is the father of the 12- and 14-year-old boys; the 10-year-old boy belongs to Sandra Weller and an ex-husband, Tim Graf. The twins were adopted by Sandra Weller 14 years ago in California.

The Vancouver couple stands accused of locking up their adopted teenage twins and only feeding them once a day. They also are accused of beating them with a wooden board when the twins tried to “steal” food, according to court documents. A Child Protective Services worker alerted Vancouver police.

The Wellers were arrested last week on suspicion of five counts of second-degree assault and two counts of unlawful imprisonment, but Thursday’s hearing was a civil matter to determine where the children will reside as the criminal case is pending.

A trial to determine permanent placement will be set at the Nov. 14 hearing.

The Wellers were not in court, although their attorneys were present. The Wellers each posted $100,000 bail on Monday.

Sandra Weller’s ex-husband, Graf, was present for the hearing. He is the biological father of the 10-year-old boy and was married to Sandra Weller when she adopted the twins.

The judge granted him visitation rights for his 10-year-old son.

Questioned by reporters Thursday outside the courtroom, Graf, a pilot from Colorado, said multiple times, “I have no comment at this time.”