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Published: Thursday, 5/3/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Children Services director says agency received call in child abuse case in 2010

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Joshua Waxler, left, and Courtney Waxler are arraigned Thursday in Toledo Municipal Court. Joshua Waxler, left, and Courtney Waxler are arraigned Thursday in Toledo Municipal Court.
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Lucas County Children Services received at least one prior phone call “expressing concern” about the well-being of two adopted children in the care of Joshua and Courtney Waxler.

“I’m not sure what, if anything, we did with that,” said Dean Sparks, executive director of Children Services.

The Waxlers, both 24, are each facing one count of child endangering and are being held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond each.

Police allege that the two both assaulted their two adopted children — ages 3 and 5 — sometime in early or mid February. The assault was reportedly recorded on a cell phone by a relative.

Documents filed in Toledo Municipal Court allege that Mr. Waxler beat his 3-year-old adopted daughter with “an adult-size tennis shoe” on her hands and other parts of her body. An affidavit alleges that Mrs. Waxler slapped the 3-year-old girl across the face — on more than one occasion — and also choked the girl and threw her to the ground.

The two girls — who are relatives of the couple — had been in the Waxlers' care for about three years. The adoption was finalized on May 19, 2011. The Waxlers also have three biological children — a newborn, a 3-year-old, and a 6-year-old.

Mr. Sparks said that the agency received an anonymous call in July 2010. The same day the call came in, a caseworker was at the Waxlers' East Toledo home, but it’s unclear at this point if the employee was acting on the information or if the timing was coincidental. One of the complaints the agency fielded was that one of the children may have had welts on her body.

That particular caseworker was not available today, but Mr. Sparks said the agency, since being asked this morning about prior complaints, did look at the employee’s notes and did not see anything to indicate there was abuse, neglect, or mistreatment in the home.

“She talked to the kids and did all that, but didn’t say she saw any welts or anything on the kids,” Mr. Sparks said. “We’re going to continue to see if there’s evidence of any other calls.

“ ... If someone called us and said these kids are in danger and someone is abusing them and we didn’t do anything, that’s a problem,” Mr. Sparks said. “And we’ll deal with it.”

Mr. Sparks said every call that is made to the agency is recorded and that if other calls were made, officials can go back and listen. Notes are supposed to be filed on in-person complaint taken at the agency, but Mr. Sparks said “I’m not finding those notes” if any were made.

If a complaint is made with Children Services, the information would be forwarded to an investigator. If a mistreatment complaint is made, the information goes to a caseworker, Mr. Sparks said.

When asked if the July 2010 complaint was considered abuse/neglect or mistreatment, Mr. Sparks said, “that’s what I haven’t gotten to the bottom of.”

Contact Taylor Dungjen at: tdungjen@theblade.com, 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @tdungjen_Blade.



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