AURORA, Ind. — Foster parents Tim and Diane Combs, caught on camera abusing foster children in their care, were sentenced in court after pleading guilty to charges of battery, according to Dearborn County Prosecutor Lynn Deddens.
"These convictions were based upon multiple documented instances of abuse, many of which were caught on video," Deddens said in a press release. "I am thankful for the bravery of one child, whose actions likely saved the lives of the other children in the home and of the diligent work by the Dearborn County Sheriff's Department in investigating the case."
Dearborn County Sheriff's Deputy Hayden Hummel was contacted by a parent of a friend of one of the foster children, Deddens said. The parent told police her son gave a cell phone to one of the foster children living in the Combs household, which was used to take video documenting abuse going on in the Aurora home.
When police visited the home, they discovered multiple videos documenting instances of child abuse, Deddens said. All of the children in the home were immediately removed.
A months-long investigation "revealed disturbing details of the ongoing terror and abuse suffered by the children who had been in the care of Tim and Diane Combs," the press release reads.
The Combs became foster parents in 2014 and have since had 38 children under their care over the years, ranging from 2 years old to 16.
In addition to the foster children found in the home, police said there was also one child who had been adopted by the Combs', and three other children the Combs' were babysitting at the time.
The documented and reported abuse included picking up and shaking younger children, hitting, kicking, name-calling and picking up children by the legs and dropping them on their heads, according to Deddens.
A four-year-old child living in the home reported to police that when the children peed in their diapers, Diane Combs "made us do wall squats and put them in our mouth."
"This is one of the most egregious cases I have come across in my time as prosecutor," Deddens said in the press release.
Tim Combs pleaded guilty to three counts of battery on Sept. 5 and has been sentenced to 18 years in prison with five suspended. Diane Combs pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, followed by 12 years of probation after her release.