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Lorain County couple charged with child abuse after infant twins found with several broken bones

Both girls were found to have fractured legs and ribs, according to the sheriff's office. Doctors told police these injuries appeared to be the result of abuse.

ELYRIA, Ohio — A Lorain County couple has been charged with multiple counts of child abuse after both of their infant twin daughters were found with broken bones this past winter.

Thirty-five-year-old Garth Sullivan and 36-year-old Tara Diepenhorst, of Huntington Township, were arrested Friday following their indictment by a grand jury. Each faces four counts of endangering children, including a pair of second-degree felonies accusing the two of behavior that "resulted in serious physical harm" to their girls.

According to the Lorain County Sheriff's Office, the case stems from an incident that occurred back on Jan. 14, when one of the babies (2 months old at the time) was taken to Mercy Health in Lorain with a broken leg. Hospital officials contacted children's services about the matter, and deputies began investigating three days later.

When interviewed, Sullivan told a detective his daughter was hurt while he was changing her diaper and he grabbed her by the leg to stop him from falling. However, upon further inspection, doctors at Cleveland Clinic Akron Children's Hospital discovered the girl's twin sister also had broken her leg, and both kids had sustained a number of rib fractures that "were in different stages of healing."

Diepenhorst then claimed this might have been from she and her husband squeezing the kids too tightly, but medical staff did not believe her stories matched the injuries. Officials ran more tests and, according to the sheriff's office, found the injuries to be consistent with physical abuse, with the broken ribs likely caused "severe squeezing" that would not have been an accident. Furthermore, while one doctor said it was "possible" the first daughter's broken leg may have been unintentional, he believed abuse was more plausible due to the prior injuries both girls had endured.

Diepenhorst vehemently denied the allegations when contacted by authorities, while Sullivan declined to talk further. Doctors also determined the children do not have brittle bones, eliminating a possible underlying reason for their ailments.

Both Sullivan and Diepenhorst are currently being held in the Lorain County Jail on a $10,000 bond, with arraignment scheduled for this coming Thursday at 8:45 a.m. They each could face multiple decades in prison, if convicted.

Credit: Lorain County Sheriff's Office
From left: Mugshots of Garth Sullivan and Tara Diepenhorst


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