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Child Abuse Riverside County

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 1, 2001 | NOAKI SCHWARTZ, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A mother and three of her acquaintances are jailed, awaiting arraignment on charges including torture, assault and child endangerment, while a 7-month-old girl clings to life in what Riverside authorities describe as the worst child abuse case they have ever seen. The baby, Kara Sheppard, is hospitalized in serious, life-threatening condition at Loma Linda University Medical Center, authorities said Saturday.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 9, 2001 | SCOTT GOLD, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Two psychologists found that a man accused of killing one child and chaining others to shield them from society was legally sane, though he periodically believed he was Jesus and was at times unwilling to speak to his attorney, insisting that God would "make it right." The psychologists, whose reports were unsealed Friday by a judge, also said John Davis experienced auditory and visual hallucinations and attempted suicide shortly after his arrest.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 9, 2001 | SCOTT GOLD, TIMES STAFF WRITER
There were no tears. That was the first indication that something was very wrong. When 7-month-old, 12-pound Kara Sheppard was finally taken to a hospital in March, she had a rash under her nose and a dark infection that ran the length of her left thigh. She should have been in excruciating pain, but she was silent, "just lying there, not moving," according to an affidavit filed by Riverside County Sheriff's Det. David A. Fernandez. That's because doctors hadn't discovered the half of it.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 9, 2001 | SCOTT GOLD, TIMES STAFF WRITER
There were no tears. That was the first indication that something was very wrong. When 7-month-old, 12-pound Kara Sheppard was finally taken to a hospital in March, she had a rash under her nose and a dark infection that ran the length of her left thigh. She should have been in excruciating pain, but she was silent, "just lying there, not moving," according to an affidavit filed by Riverside County Sheriff's Det. David A. Fernandez. That's because doctors hadn't discovered the half of it.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 2, 1999 | SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Loren Bess bristled at the notion that he would torture, let alone starve, his only grandchild, a girl named for his late wife. The metal chain and collar used to tether 6-year-old Bettye Topper's waist to the bed in a filthy room was meant to keep her from hurting herself and from damaging furniture and drapes, he said Friday in an interview. "I know what children should be doing, but I never had seen a child that was so, well, active," said the 75-year-old Norco man.
NEWS
November 11, 1994 | TOM GORMAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Nine years after his wife died, a 39-year-old Lake Elsinore man has been charged with murdering her by forcing her to consume soap and then strangling her. Bruce Cohn was arrested at the time of his wife's death in 1985, but was not charged because investigators could not prove that he forced his wife to eat the soap, said Riverside County Deputy Dist. Atty. Eileen Hunt. Prosecutors at the time believed she died of toxic asphyxiation, she said.
NEWS
January 16, 1992 | PATRICK J. McDONNELL and GEBE MARTINEZ, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
The stock clerk charged with two in a string of 19 Riverside County murders was questioned by Rialto police in October on suspicion of severely abusing his infant daughter, but authorities didn't discover he was on parole for murdering another infant in Texas 18 years ago. The 3-month-old baby was hospitalized at Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center in Fontana and nearly died of severe brain damage, three broken ribs and a broken leg, officials said Wednesday. William L.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 23, 2001 | SCOTT GOLD, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A 77-year-old retired electrician whose 6-year-old granddaughter was discovered chained to a bedpost, clad only in a diaper and unable to speak, has pleaded guilty to child endangerment, officials said Thursday. Loren Harrison Bess, of Norco, entered the felony guilty plea in Riverside County Superior Court just as he was expected to stand trial.
NEWS
July 9, 1999 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A Temecula-area couple face criminal charges of imprisoning and torturing two women and four children in their garage and of feloniously mistreating 11 older children who lived inside the home. "I've never seen a case like this," Riverside County Deputy Dist. Atty. Eileen Hunt, a child-abuse expert prosecuting the case, said Thursday. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum of life imprisonment for each of eight counts of torture, she said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 10, 1999 | SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The father of an emaciated 6-year-old Norco girl thought to have been chained to her bed for most of her life said Thursday that he has not seen her in five years and will talk to his lawyer before deciding whether to seek custody. "I'm upset," said Melvin Rochlin, 56. "I had no idea this was going on."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 1, 2001 | NOAKI SCHWARTZ, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A mother and three of her acquaintances are jailed, awaiting arraignment on charges including torture, assault and child endangerment, while a 7-month-old girl clings to life in what Riverside authorities describe as the worst child abuse case they have ever seen. The baby, Kara Sheppard, is hospitalized in serious, life-threatening condition at Loma Linda University Medical Center, authorities said Saturday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 23, 2001 | SCOTT GOLD, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A 77-year-old retired electrician whose 6-year-old granddaughter was discovered chained to a bedpost, clad only in a diaper and unable to speak, has pleaded guilty to child endangerment, officials said Thursday. Loren Harrison Bess, of Norco, entered the felony guilty plea in Riverside County Superior Court just as he was expected to stand trial.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 3, 2000 | From Associated Press
A woman who suffered brain damage in a hammer attack pleaded guilty in Riverside County on Thursday to child endangerment for keeping her 6-year-old daughter chained to a bed in a darkened room littered with trash and feces. Under terms of the plea agreement, Cynthia Topper, 39, who was attacked by an ex-boyfriend in 1983 at her Santa Ana home, was sentenced to six years in state prison. She will receive credit for time served in jail. Topper and her father, Loren Bess, were arrested Sept.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 2, 1999 | SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Loren Bess bristled at the notion that he would torture, let alone starve, his only grandchild, a girl named for his late wife. The metal chain and collar used to tether 6-year-old Bettye Topper's waist to the bed in a filthy room was meant to keep her from hurting herself and from damaging furniture and drapes, he said Friday in an interview. "I know what children should be doing, but I never had seen a child that was so, well, active," said the 75-year-old Norco man.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 10, 1999 | SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The father of an emaciated 6-year-old Norco girl thought to have been chained to her bed for most of her life said Thursday that he has not seen her in five years and will talk to his lawyer before deciding whether to seek custody. "I'm upset," said Melvin Rochlin, 56. "I had no idea this was going on."
NEWS
July 9, 1999 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A Temecula-area couple face criminal charges of imprisoning and torturing two women and four children in their garage and of feloniously mistreating 11 older children who lived inside the home. "I've never seen a case like this," Riverside County Deputy Dist. Atty. Eileen Hunt, a child-abuse expert prosecuting the case, said Thursday. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum of life imprisonment for each of eight counts of torture, she said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 9, 2001 | SCOTT GOLD, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Two psychologists found that a man accused of killing one child and chaining others to shield them from society was legally sane, though he periodically believed he was Jesus and was at times unwilling to speak to his attorney, insisting that God would "make it right." The psychologists, whose reports were unsealed Friday by a judge, also said John Davis experienced auditory and visual hallucinations and attempted suicide shortly after his arrest.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 3, 2000 | From Associated Press
A woman who suffered brain damage in a hammer attack pleaded guilty in Riverside County on Thursday to child endangerment for keeping her 6-year-old daughter chained to a bed in a darkened room littered with trash and feces. Under terms of the plea agreement, Cynthia Topper, 39, who was attacked by an ex-boyfriend in 1983 at her Santa Ana home, was sentenced to six years in state prison. She will receive credit for time served in jail. Topper and her father, Loren Bess, were arrested Sept.
NEWS
November 11, 1994 | TOM GORMAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Nine years after his wife died, a 39-year-old Lake Elsinore man has been charged with murdering her by forcing her to consume soap and then strangling her. Bruce Cohn was arrested at the time of his wife's death in 1985, but was not charged because investigators could not prove that he forced his wife to eat the soap, said Riverside County Deputy Dist. Atty. Eileen Hunt. Prosecutors at the time believed she died of toxic asphyxiation, she said.
NEWS
January 16, 1992 | PATRICK J. McDONNELL and GEBE MARTINEZ, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
The stock clerk charged with two in a string of 19 Riverside County murders was questioned by Rialto police in October on suspicion of severely abusing his infant daughter, but authorities didn't discover he was on parole for murdering another infant in Texas 18 years ago. The 3-month-old baby was hospitalized at Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center in Fontana and nearly died of severe brain damage, three broken ribs and a broken leg, officials said Wednesday. William L.
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