Heather and Ryan Sanders are on trial for injury to a child based on a Child Protective Services investigation into how they and their four young children were living on the beach.
2 months ago
CORPUS CHRISTI - A Corpus Christi couple convicted of child abuse won't be spending any time in jail.
Instead, this morning a jury sentenced Ryan and Heather Sanders to community supervision.
The same jury found them guilty yesterday on multiple counts of injury to a child and one count of manufacturing meth.
They were arrested last year, after they were found living with their four children, in a car on the beach.
The children were dirty and malnourished.
The Sanders also won't have to pay any fines.
2 months ago
CORPUS CHRISTI - This afternoon the parents who lived on the beach with their four malnourished child were found guilty.
A jury convicted Ryan and Heather Sanders on multiple counts of injury to a child and manufacturing meth.
The children, a four day old baby and three toddlers were found living in filthy conditions.
Prosecutors say their parents used meth every day, and exposed their kids to drug abuse.
The sentencing phase is now underway, they face up to 99 years in prison.
2 months ago
CORPUS CHRISTI - The jury in a local child abuse case heard from the father today. Ryan Sanders didn't take the stand, but the jury listened to a tape of police questioning Ryan shortly after he and his wife were found living in a car on the beach with their 4 young children.
Ryan told police that he didn't think his children were malnourished. "And that's what... You know... It's bull****," he stated in the interview.
That was Ryan Sanders response when an investigator told him doctors determined his children were malnourished.
Ryan and his wife, Heather Sanders, had not yet been arrested or charged with injury to a child when they were interviewed.
During questioning, he stated he didn't see any problem with his family living on the beach and that his kids looked fine and were healthy.
"I mean, basically, I'm a skinny guy. You know, they're not big kids. But you know, I do know that they eat... They're eating," explained Sanders in the interview.
He says there was one exception, his two year old daughter, but he was satisfied with the explanation his wife gave him.
"I had brought up the thing about Roxanne. You know, She's getting skinnier and stuff. And she was bringing up that she was... She had uh... Autistic. Yes. She said that what was going on," Ryan Sanders said to detectives.
He went on to tell the detective he knew his wife had taken meth during her pregnancy. But claims she did an online search and didn't think meth would hurt her baby.
Sanders and his wife face up to 99 years in prison if found guilty of injury to a child.
2 months ago
CORPUS CHRISTI - Today we finally heard how four kids at the center of a child neglect case are doing. The kids were starving and living on a beach with their parents when they were found. Today the kids' grandmother took the stand and testified in the Ryan and Heather sanders case.
Elizabeth Davis told the jury her four grandchildren are happy and doing well. They've been living with her in South Carolina for the past year. She took the stand today as a defense witness.
That's a big change from last April when the children and their parents, Heather and Ryan Sanders, were found living on the beach.
The four kids, which included a four day old baby and three toddlers, were all malnourished. A CPS investigator says the car they were in was filthy and full of garbage. Prosecutors say their parents used meth every day and exposed their kids to drug abuse.
Heather and Ryan Sanders are facing several charges of injury to a child. And while their kids are now happy and healthy, their grandmother says they do ask about their parents.
Davis said when the children speak of their parents they say, "That she loved her daddy. That she missed him. She wanted to see him. And why wouldn't I let her talk to him."
CPS has instructed Davis to not let her grandchildren speak to their parents.
If Ryan and Heather Sanders are found guilty, they face up to 99 years in prison. Testimony resumes Monday morning.
2 months ago
CORPUS CHRISTI - A local child abuse case may fall apart over the handling of key evidence. Heather and Ryan Sanders face several charges of injury to a child after their four kids were found malnourished and living on the beach with them.
Key evidence in the case includes child safety seats. Prosecutors want to show how the Sanders kept their children. However, photo evidence of the seats didn't match the way the seats looked when they were presented in court.
Earlier testimony in the court stated the seats had holes cut out in the bottom to allow the children to go to bathroom without leaving the seats.
Now, the judge in the case is concerned about how the evidence was preserved.
"The problem is that what you have is the car seats, removed, put back together, taken apart, transported," said Judge Angelica Hernandez.
Prosecutors say the Sanders used meth every day. Their kids are now with relatives in South Carolina.
2 months ago
CORPUS CHRISTI - A mother and father face up to 99 years in prison for failing to care for their children. In court today, a Child Protective Services investigator detailed the conditions the children of Heather and Ryan Sanders were exposed to.
The children were removed by the state after they were found living in a car on the beach. The youngest child was only a few days old at the time.
"When Detective Galloway did remove the car seats, urine and feces were in the car seats. I think that's why there was a hole cut out for the middle of the seat part of the car seat and there was urine and feces in there." That's how investigator John Diaz described the scene.
The Sanders said they were visiting Corpus Christi and had been camping out on the beach for a few weeks. Authorities say the Sanders were on meth and after being questioned both said they wanted to give up their rights to the children. A grandmother in South Carolina now has custody of the 1, 2, 3, and 5-year old children.
The parents trial on charges of injury to a child continues on Wednesday.
3 months ago
CORPUS CHRISTI - We're now hearing from witnesses in the trial of a couple found living on the beach with their four kids.
Ryan and Heather Sanders face multiple counts of injury to a child. Authorities say the children were near the point of starvation when found on Padre Island in 2013.
The jury today heard from a couple of friends who say they gave the Sanders baby formula, blankets and money to take their newborn to the hospital.
But prosecutors say even with the help, the couple still didn't take their baby to the hospital. Police say the couple were regular users of methamphetamine.
The four children are now living with their grandmother in South Carolina.
1 year ago
CORPUS CHRISTI - The parents of four malnourished children who were living in a car on the beach were indicted on multiple criminal charges today.
Ryan and Heather Sanders were each indicted on eight counts, including: injury to a child, possesion of a controlled substance and abandoning or endangering a child.
The couple was arrested in April after the mother showed up at the hospital four days after she gave birth. Officers found the parents were living in a car with their four daughters. The oldest child is 4 years-old while the youngest was just a few days old at the time.
It's believed Sanders gave birth to the girl on the beach and that she had been using methamphetamine throughout her pregnancy.
According to court documents, the parents called 911 when the mother started going into labor, but only asked for advice on how to go about the delivery.
When checked out by authorities, the children were all underweight, malnourished, allegedly exposed to drug use and filthy.
Their grandmother from South Carolina now has custody.
1 year ago
CORPUS CHRISTI - The parents of four children found malnourished living in a car on North Beach were back in court today. Heather and Ryan Sanders face criminal charges after they were found living with their children (ranging from a few weeks old to four years old) on the beach. The children have been living with the father's mother in South Carolina since then.
The Sanders teared up when Child Protective Service representatives reported that all children are doing better than expected. C.P.S. told the judge all of the kids have gained roughly four pounds since their initial hospitalization; one child is just beginning to learn motor skills such as how to use a spoon. While the children have made improvements far beyond C.P.S. expectations, a case worker says they're still experiencing difficulties with separation anxiety.
The judge ordered the children continue to stay with their grandmother for the time being. He also requested that C.P.S. have the parents psychologically evaluated while they await their indictment in jail. Additionally, as required by law, the judge ordered C.P.S. to provide services, such as counseling, to the parents so they can work toward rehabilitation in hopes to be reunited with their children. C.P.S. emphasizes they hope the grandmother eventually takes custody of the children and not the Sanders.
1 year ago
CORPUS CHRISTI -- The parents of four children who were found on the verge of starvation on the beach are headed to court this morning.
Last week, Ryan and Heather Sanders were arrested. Police said they were found living on the beach with their four daughters, including a newborn.
They face three counts of injury to a child.
Today's hearing will determine the custody of the children. They are currently in the custody of Child Protective Services.
9 hours ago
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