Sheriff: 'These injuries did not occur all at the same time'

Sheriff: 'These injuries did not occur all at the same time' »Play Video
Alona and Rodger Hartwig

BLACHLY, Ore. -- Rodger and Alona Hartwig have welcomed foster kids into their home for years.

But it's what happened March 27 that has investigators worried. That's when the Lane County Sheriff's Office say the couple's 9-year-old adopted son was taken to a Portland hospital with a fractured pelvis, ribs and fingers and a third degree burn that had gone untreated.

Lieutenant Byron Trapp called the alleged crime "awful" and one of the worst cases they've seen in years. Trapp said the abuse likely happened more than once.

"There is information that we know that these injuries did not occur all at the same time," Trapp said. "They are in various stages of healing."

The 9-year-old boy wasn't the only child living with the Hartwigs. Trapp said the couple had five other kids ranging from 9 to 13 years old. Some of those were adopted. They have since been removed from the home.

The Hartwigs are certified foster parents, although no foster children were living with them in March. Department of Human Services Spokesperson Gene Evans said DHS does criminal background checks on every applicant - but even people who have a clean record can commit crimes.

"If we knew of some way to predict that a foster family or that a foster parent of adoptive parent was likely to commit a crime we would certainly be doing it," Evans said.

Last year, DHS updated their screening process. They now conduct what are called "home studies" where they look at where the child will be living.

"It involves interviewing relatives and neighbors and those kinds of things which are also done as checking references," Evans said.

The 9-year-old boy is out of the hospital and living with foster parents in Lane County. To be fair, KVAL News talked to other members of the Hartwig family. One of their adult sons told us their lawyer has asked them not to comment.