All five adopted children of Jeffrey and Rebecca Trebilcock, a Longview couple convicted of starving and abusing two of those kids, will remain in foster care for now.
The Trebilcocks were convicted in July and were sentenced to prison. The couple were acquitted during the same trial of denying food to three additional children, all girls adopted from Haiti. All of the children had been placed in foster care when the Trebilcocks were arrested in May 2011. The children were between the ages of 8 and 13 at the time.
During a civil trial in Cowlitz County Juvenile Court last week, state lawyers once again alleged that the Trebilcocks abused and starved all five of the children. The trial, intended to determine whether the children would continue to be wards of the state, was called off on its second day, Sept. 18, after the Trebilcocks agreed the children should remain in foster care, said Assistant Attorney General Dana Gigler, who is representing the Children’s Administration in the matter.
The court also last week authorized Children’s Administration officials to seek termination of the Trebilcock’s parenting rights for one of the children — a then 13-year-old boy who had been so malnourished he was near death when he was admitted to a hospital last year. The boy had clearly been the worst off of the children, authorities said.
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Gigler said permanently removing the boy from the Trebilcocks’ care will involve a separate trial. A Children’s Administration spokeswoman said the court will hold another hearing Oct. 10 about permanent arrangements for the other children.
For now, the court has denied a petition by Deric Whittington, the adult, biological brother of the 13-year-old boy and his 12-year-old sister, to adopt those two children. State officials had opposed the adoption, saying the children do not yet know Whittington and his wife well enough. (The boy and girl were separated from Whittington when they were very young.) The Whittingtons, of Longview, will be allowed to participate in supervised visits with the boy and girl to give them “an opportunity to become acquainted,” Children’s Administration spokeswoman Chris Case said.
The Trebilcocks, both 45, were convicted in July of first-degree criminal mistreatment against the boy and third-degree criminal mistreatment against his sister. The couple were also barred during the criminal proceedings from having contact with the victims for 10 years. Rebecca Trebilcock was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison, and Jeffrey Trebilcock received a sentence of 5.5 years.