Lawyers for abused Vancouver children file lawsuit against state

VANCOUVER, Wash. - A new lawsuit claims social workers for the State of Washington should have known Sandra and Jeffrey Weller were abusing their children inside their Vancouver home.

The couple was found guilty last March, and sentenced to 20 years behind bars.

In 2003, Washington's Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) got a complaint that the kids were being mistreated while the Wellers were living in an r-v.

In 2004, there were seven complaints, including one that Sandra Weller was 'emotionally abusive' toward the children.

In 2005, DSHS got a half-dozen complaints from the children's schools...from teachers, a school secretary, even a school nurse. DSHS did their own investigations but closed each investigation without calling in law enforcement.

A state inspection in 2006 revealed the Wellers added locks to their food cabinets, restricting the children's access to food.

By 2008, workers for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for the children also contacted DSHS about their treatment. One child told social workers he'd been ordered to stand in a corner for two days. They didn't believe him and suspected the child was trying manipulate his parents.

At his sentencing, Jeffrey Weller laid blame on Sandra.

"They have lost their childhood and innocence that comes with a normal childhood," said Jeffrey, "due to Sandra Weller's psychotic, paranoid, malicious and sadistic behavior toward them and me."