Allegations of Abuse

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Court documents released yesterday allege a long history of abuse by the couple against all their children. Now many have questions about how it could have gone unanswered.

The state's Department of Human Services can't confirm to us that they know anything about the Holland case. They say it's an issue of confidentiality. That said, publicly, they've filed a neglect petition against the Hollands, and taken temporary custody of the children.

That petition notes bruises and scratches they've observed on Ricky's siblings, all of them noted since Ricky went missing. It says Ricky's oldest brother told them "Mommy did it" and "Mommy hits."

Before Ricky's death, teachers at Cascades Elementary School in Jackson (where Ricky went to kindergarten and first grade) filed a number of reports about the boy. The court documents show they were concerned he was given carrot sandwiches every day at lunch even though he didn't like carrots, he was forced to wear diapers, and walked on a leash to school.

Without more information from the Department of Human Services, we can't say how or even if those concerns were answered.

Rep. Rick Baxter from the Jackson district and Rep. Gretchen Whitmer from the Hollands' Ingham County district express concern about a breakdown in a system. They both say they need to wait for facts, but they ask questions and consider legislation to strengthen oversight.