ELKINS - Bond was modified for a man and wife accused of locking their children up and only feeding them once a day, while their adult daughter was arrested on conspiracy charges Friday in Randolph County Magistrate Court.
Richard Keith Lambert, 42, and Tonya Elaine Lambert, 43, both of Beverly, are each charged with two felony counts of child neglect creating risk of injuries. Bond for each was set at $50,000 cash only.
Randolph County Magistrate Rob Elbon agreed Friday to modify the terms of the bond for each of the Lamberts to include options of surety or property. Both also waived their rights to a preliminary hearing, meaning their cases will now proceed to Circuit Court.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Tim MacVean
Jamie Lambert is led from Randolph County Magistrate Court by Deputy M.P. Dyer, left, and Court Security Officer Michael Parlock, right, after being arraigned on a felony charge of conspiracy Friday morning.
Following the waiver of the preliminary hearings, the Lamberts' daughter was taken into custody for allegedly conspiring with her parents.
Jamie Lambert, 20, of Beverly, was charged with one felony count of conspiracy. Bond was set at $20,000 cash or surety by Elbon.
According to the criminal complaint, on Friday morning, Deputy M.P. Dyer, of the Randolph County Sheriff's Office, received additional information from a Child Protective Services employee in reference to the pending criminal case involving the Lamberts.
The information indicated Richard Lambert had made a phone call to Jamie Lambert on Aug. 9 after his juvenile son was reported missing.
Dyer was informed the phone call "occurred while Richard and Tonya Lambert were at the location of the found juvenile, and that Richard Lambert did ask the defendant to remove the top portion (board) of the make shift bedroom door and that she was to beat it off with a hammer if needed," the complaint stated.
According to the initial police report, Cpl. B.A. Talkington received a call Aug. 20 regarding a runaway juvenile - the Lambert's son.
Talkington contacted Tonya Lambert by phone to take the initial complaint before meeting her at her residence in the Beverly Mobile Home Park, the complaint states.
Once Richard Lambert exited the home, Talkington wrote he asked the son that was with Richard Lambert to sit in his cruiser so he could ask him about his brother. Talkington said the boy "appeared to have sunken eyes, and gray skin, and (was) very skinny."
He asked the boy why his brother had left the home and he "hesitantly replied, 'to find food by going door to door or walking to the soup kitchen in Elkins," the complaint states.
Talkington then acquired a clothing description of the missing juvenile from the boy before leaving the scene and requesting that 911 contact the on-call Child Protective Services employee.
The CPS employee contacted Talkington, who did a "referral based on the appearance of (the boy at the home) and the fact that a (missing juvenile) felt it necessary to run away from home to get food," according to the complaint.
Later in the same day, Talkington located the missing juvenile and noted his appearance was similar to his brother, with the same sunken eyes and gray skin. Talkington asked the juvenile if "he was doing OK or if he was hurt," and the boy replied "I'm OK." Talkington then asked why he ran away and he said, "I got into trouble and I knew Dad would take away my meal for the day," the complaint states.
Talkington asked, "You only get to eat once a day?" The boy replied, "Yes, unless I get in trouble and then I get it taken," Talkington wrote.
Cpl. A.G. Vanscoy and Deputy R.K. Foster responded to the home with the CPS employee. Upon arriving at the scene, officials discovered three juveniles were all sharing a room with "a 5 (foot) to 6 (foot) wooden door with a latch on the outside," and that "there was a cow bell attached to the outside of the door," according to the complaint.
Vanscoy described the room to Talkington as "a jail cell, equipped with two mattresses in the floor and a toilet in the middle of the room."
During interviews with the juveniles by the CPS employee, it was revealed the parents allegedly used "nutritional deprivation" as punishment - if the juveniles "got in trouble, they were not allowed to eat." According to the criminal complaint, at the time of the interview, two of the juveniles had not eaten in more than 48 hours.
According to the interview with the juveniles, the parents would lock them in their bedroom as punishment and at one point, "Richard removed (two of the juvenile's) blankets as punishment," and "later came back to the room and found (the juveniles) with their knees to their chests in a huddling position," so he "yelled at them and punched them both in the chest."
The juveniles were removed from the home by CPS the same day as the interview, according to the complaint.