A Florida couple is facing charges on 700 counts of sexual abuse towards minors in the states of Florida and Alabama.
In July 2016 Daniel Spurgeon, 47, and his 52-year-old wife, Jenise Spurgeon, were arrested in Cape Coral, Florida, on outstanding warrants stemming from an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual abuse in Florence, Alabama, where the couple had lived years earlier.
According to Daily Mail, the couple was arrested after three teenagers under Daniel’s care appeared to be intoxicated. When questioned by police, the children reported the abuse at the hands of the Spurgeons.
Jenise and Daniel Spurgeon are in custody for multiple sex and abuse crimes to both biological and foster children in their care, WBBH reports.
Daniel is currently in custody in Florida, while Jenise will be extradited to Alabama to face similar charges in the state. The couple faces more than 700 individual charges of child abuse, sexual abuse, rape and other crimes against children.
Police in Alabama believe they have recovered enough evidence to prove the abuse of at least 11 children under their care started well before the family moved to Florida. Jenise has returned to Alabama to face multiple charges.
After the 2016 arrest of Daniel, details about their abuse at the family home shook the neighborhood in Florence, Alabama.
“It never happens in your own neighborhood, it’s horrible,” neighbor William Meyer told WBBH. “It really hits home, plain and simple, and that someone would even touch another child like that, it’s appalling.”
“There were 15 living here, OK, some biological, exact number? Nobody seemed to know,” said former neighbor Bill Pimm. “I didn’t even know anything had happened in Alabama until [WBBH] came up. At one point, Daniel had told me that they fostered to adopt 35 kids.”
The Spurgeons’ foster children described years of abuse, and they said the couple’s biological children were given preferential treatment. They claimed they were forced to take cold showers, hit with spatulas, thrown into walls and forced to do push-ups with either Daniel or Jenise’s foot on their backs.
A regional Florida Department of Children and Families (FDCF) said all of the couple’s biological children are currently in the department’s custody. They also stated that the organization opened a child protection investigation at the time of Daniel’s first arrest, but could not release details to the media.
“I pray for the children that got affected, and I hope that it doesn’t affect the rest of their lives,” said Meyer. Pimm offered similar sentiments.
The Federal Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (FICPC) allowed the Spurgeons to take their foster children with them from Alabama to Florida. As of summer 2016, some of the foster children were in the process of being adopted.
After the Spurgeons’ arrest, all adopted and fostered children were returned to their home state.