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Parents Fighting To Regain Custody Of Eight Children

By: Stephanie Diffin Email
By: Stephanie Diffin Email

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

UPDATE

A Wichita couple is fighting to bring their children home after police took them into protective custody.

Officers took the eight children after finding three of them walking down south Oliver.

"My kids are gone. I love them, I miss them, I see them everyday. I miss them like crazy. I couldn't tuck them in last night," said an emotional Autumn Ray, the children's mother.

Autumn and Charles Ray say they've been working on their house non-stop, cleaning and painting to make their home more livable after police took their eight children, ranging in age from four months to eight years old.

"They're in someone else's possession right now and that doesn't make me feel good. I mean I want my children home," said Charles.

But police are calling their home, on the 4300 block of E. Bayley, unsuitable for children. This, after three of them apparently ran away early Wednesday morning.

"The older children stated that they had been physically abused and that they had left the residence to find a new place to live," said Wichita Police Lt. Steven Kenney.

The three children found walking down the 1300 block of S. Oliver were of ages 5, 6, and 7. Police say people passing by saw them and called 911, launching the investigation into the family after the children led officers to their house.

"I didn't even say goodbye to my kids because the only way I can say goodbye to them is if I'm completely done. And I'm not," said Charles. "The fight started when they left this house."

And the Rays say the fight will continue until they get their kids back.

"There's nothing I wouldn't do for them," said Autumn.

"All I know is I'm busting my butt because I love my kids and that's all I can tell everybody, that I would die for them," said Charles.

There have been no arrests in the case.

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Eight children are in police protective custody, after runaways led investigators to a southeast Wichita home with what they're calling deplorable living conditions.

It began after three children, ages five, six and seven, were found wandering in the 1300 block of S. Oliver around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. Authorities said witnesses notified police, concerned for the children's welfare.

The children then led officers to their home in the 4300 block of E. Bailey, police said. Officials found five other children in the home, ranging in age from four months to eight years old.

Wichita Police Lt. Steven Kenny said it is unclear whether the children were being supervised at the time.

"It appeared that all the children had some type of bug bites," Kenny said. "The older children said they had been physically abused and left the residence to find some other place to live."

Authorities said the living conditions inside the home were unsuitable for children. The eight kids were taken into protective custody.

Officers did talk to the children's parents, a 36-year-old man and 31-year-old woman. No arrests have been made. The public incident report lists the children as having severe bug bites and numerous "infected eczema" sores.


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