Starvation victim thanks community |

Starvation victim thanks community

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

In a handwritten card to the community, a 16-year-old Carson City girl who allegedly spent years locked and starving in a bathroom, thanked those who have rallied to her aid.

“Dear Carson City,” she wrote in a letter addressed to the Nevada Appeal and passed along by the Division of Child and Family Services, “thank you for being a nice, caring city and reading about me.”

The young lady, weighing 41 pounds when she was found pushing a shopping cart Jan. 19., told deputies she and her 11-year-old brother had been held captive and starving in their grandmother’s bathroom for years. Her 31-pound brother was found hidden underneath a bed in the family’s Como Street apartment while the adults there allegedly protested the girl’s allegations and claimed the boy lived in California.

Grandmother Esther Rios, 56, mother Regina Rios, 33, and stepfather Tomas Granados, 33, have been charged with six felony abuse, neglect and imprisonment counts.

In penciled print writing surrounded by stickers, she addressed publicly for the first time the outpouring of support she and her brother have received since their liberation.

“I am very grateful for your thoughtfulness. It meant a lot to me,” she wrote to the people who have raised more than $47,000 for them. “I hope to meet each and (every) one of you very soon to thank you all in person.”

Crystal Main, spokeswoman for the Division of Child and Family Services, said the children are together and being cared for by a foster family in Carson City.

“The community has been so incredibly generous that they have provided enough clothing and toys to last,” she said. “What would be most beneficial to them now would be donations to the Second Chance Fund.”

The Second Chance Fund is a savings account set up for the children by the Carson City Sheriff’s Protective Association. The fund was initially intended to raise money for education, until testimony from a dentist during a hearing last week revealed the girl has suffered irreversible damage to her teeth as a result of her starvation, and will need to either have them restored at a cost of $50,000 or replaced with dentures. Main said she was unsure what portion of the dental costs would be covered by Medicaid.

“Cash donations are the most important contribution we can continue to make as a community,” she said.

Today, in the continuation of a preliminary hearing meant to determine if there is enough evidence against the adults for a trial, pediatrician Dr. Kathi Amrhein is expected to tell of the children’s conditions when she first saw them at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center. In previous statements Amrhein likened their appearance to Holocaust victims.

Also today, an investigator who interviewed Esther Rios is expected to testify to what she told him during questioning.

— Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.