Kent County couple indicted on 646 child abuse-related charges

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DOVER - A Kent County couple has been indicted on 646 charges, including more than 80 felonies, for allegedly abusing their two children, the Delaware Department of Justice announced on Wednesday.

The Department of Justice alleged that  Mary F. Vinson, 45, and Charles J. Vinson, 36, of Houston, aabused their children over a period of 20 months, including making them stand for long periods of time; withholding food; force feeding them; and physically assaulting the children.

The Department of Justice said that both children, who have since been transferred into the custody of the Division of Family services, were hospitalized several times due to the severity of the abuse, which was caught on video by cameras the parents placed in the children’s room.

According to the indictment, the children were hospitalized at least six times between March 2021 to March 2022 due to alleged first-degree child abuse. Both children were hospitalized on the same day in April 2021, the indictment alleged.

The indictment also claimed that the couple made false statements to investigating police. Second-degree reckless endangering charges resulted from the couple allegedly providing false information to medical professionals during medical evaluations and treatment.

“These are the cases that keep us up at night,” Attorney General Kathy Jennings said in a news release.

“The evidence in this case is disturbing and my prayers are with the victims who, thank God, are somewhere safe. We will seek swift and complete justice against the accused; nothing matters more than protecting our kids.’

Mr. Vinson and Ms. Vinson are charged with felony offenses including, first-degree child abuse, second-degree conspiracy, endangering the welfare of a child, first-degree kidnapping, act of intimidation, and false statement. Ms. Vinson was additionally charged with strangulation and attempted strangulation.

The couple was indicted on multiple misdemeanor offenses as well including, among others endangering the welfare of a child, and third-degree child abuse.

The DOJ said Ms. Vinson is facing a total of 600 counts, and Mr. Vinson was indicted on 46.

If convicted on all charges, Ms. Vinson faces a minimum sentence of 40 years and a maximum sentence of more than 1,150 years;

Mr. Vinson would face a minimum sentence of 16 years and a maximum sentence of more than 270 years.

Department of Justice spokesman Mat Marshal said the Vinsons are currently incarcerated and awaiting a scheduling order on next court appearance.

Deputy Attorneys General Kitty Dickerson and Erik Towne of the DOJ’s Special Victims Unit secured the indictment with support from DOJ Investigator Pete Fraley and Paralegal Nicole Rollins. The investigation was led by detectives from the Troop 3 Major Crimes Unit of Delaware State Police.

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