Strangers reach out to help abused Carson siblings
Appeal Staff Writer
Hundreds of people from across the United States are reacting to the story of two Carson City children allegedly held captive in an apartment bathroom and starved for years.
Chrystal Main, spokeswoman for the Division of Child and Family Services, said Wednesday her office has been receiving gifts for the 16-year-old girl and 11-year-old boy all week long.
“Everyone is grieving a collective grief for the situation these kids have been in,” she said.
The severely emaciated children were discovered Jan. 19 after the 16-year-old girl was able to escape her alleged confinement and was spotted walking on East Second Street. The two were admitted to the pediatric unit of Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center and are listed in stable condition. Three other healthy children in the home, ages 9, 12, and 17, were placed in the custody of the state.
The children’s mother, Regina Rios, 33; grandmother Esther Rios, 56; and stepfather, Tomas Granados, 33, are being held on suspicion of felony child abuse and false imprisonment.
Main said she’s fielded calls from as far away as Miami with people saying they were sending gifts and money to the children.
“It’s just amazing. People have been dropping off things like books, scarves and blankets. We’ve also received two or three DVD players, a Gameboy and toys like puzzles,” she said.
On Wednesday afternoon, a man in San Diego called Main to say he’d collected gifts from his co-workers and stuffed them into backpacks.
“He said he’s packed it up and is sending it to my attention and could I make sure the children get this box of goodies,” she said. Main admitted the kindness shown by strangers brings her to tears at times.
Pam Callahan, management assistant for Sheriff Kenny Furlong, said she too has been inundated with donations. The checks, totaling $3,200 thus far, have been deposited into an account for the children set up by the Carson City Deputy’s Association.
In Wednesday’s mail, 28 letters addressed to the children’s fund were delivered to the Sheriff’s Department.
“I am getting an overwhelming response,” she said. “There was a woman in Reno who called me and said that she wants to take the children shopping with a chaperone. It was very, very emotional, her conversation with me. She said, ‘I’ll take them anywhere they want to go.'”
Sometimes the envelopes just contain checks and other times people include notes.
“Please take the kids to the movies with this. Popcorn, soda, the works,” one person wrote.
“Thank you for all you are doing to right the wrongs that have been done against these children,” another note read.
Among the donations collected, one Carson City family sent a check for $500, and deputies at the Alpine County Sheriff’s Department raised $400.
Angela Bustos, a Sheriff’s Department service technician said people are dropping off checks and items at the department’s front counter.
“Everyone seems very concerned about the children and outraged at how anyone could do something like this,” she said. “You can tell in their faces there’s a genuine concern about these kids.”
Bustos said someone brought in the entire collection of Harry Potter movies and she’s also received quite a few donations of clothing. All the items collected at the Sheriff’s Department will be delivered to Child and Family Services until they can be collected by the children.
Main said everything they’ve received so far will be useful.
“People want to know what they can donate and I’ve been saying any clothes that would fit a 41 pound girl and 31 pound boy,” she said. She cautioned people to remember the girl is a teenager, despite her small size. “So she needs whatever teenagers want these days.”
The comments section at NevadaAppeal.com has seen an increase in traffic. Among the hundreds of messages posted on the stories about the children’s plight, several offered prayers for the young victims.
And an e-mail received at the Nevada Appeal from a Montana couple offered something money can’t buy – a future.
“If the kids want to leave the area and get a whole new start and have a whole new chance at life, my wife and I would be happy to take them in. If they like dogs, cats, deer, horses, wide open spaces, good food and clean fun, privacy and caring people, send them our way. We can guarantee them a future here,” he wrote.
“Sometimes a fresh new start with a fresh clean slate is needed. No one will bother them here, no one will know them here, they could start anew here.”
— Contact reporter F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.
You can help
Gifts for the children may be sent to the Division of Child and Family Services:
Attention: Crystal Main, 1572 E. College Parkway No. 161, Carson City, NV 89706
Monetary donations can be made to an education, medical and basic needs fund for the children set up by the Carson City Deputies Association at any Bank of America branch to the Second Chance Fund:
Acct. No. 005011351167
Mail-in donations may be sent to the Second Chance Fund c/o Carson City Sheriff’s Protective Association, 901 E. Musser St., Carson City NV 89701