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Hundreds of Children Found at Vermin-Infested Shelter in Mexico
July 17th, 2014
04:43 AM ET

Hundreds of Children Found at Vermin-Infested Shelter in Mexico

Mexican authorities are still unraveling the horrors allegedly committed on nearly 500 children sheltered at "La Gran Familia" refuge in the southwestern state of Michoacan.

At The Big Family shelter, scores of children - some as young as two months old - were denied visits from their parents, virtually imprisoned in vermin-infested quarters and routinely subjected to physical, psychological and sexual abuse, authorities said.

Authorities raided the sprawling, squalid shelter in the city of Zamora Tuesday after a number of parents complained about being denied access to their children, Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karan told reporters.

"We found close to 500 children in truly deplorable conditions," Murillo said.

Victims told investigators that children were routinely forced to beg for money on the streets, eat unsanitary food and sleep on hard floors crawling with rats and roaches, Murillo said. It was not clear from Mexican authorities how so many children - along with some adults - came to be at the shelter.

The operator of the shelter, Rosa del Carmen Verduzco, was detained along with eight of her employees, authorities said. They were being questioned in connection with abuse and other charges.

"This is truly upsetting," Michoacan governor Salvador Jara Guerrero told reporters. "We did not expect to find such conditions... We must not allow these things to occur - not in Michoacan, not in the republic."

MORE on CNN.com

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Filed under: Children • Mexico
August 16th, 2013
09:16 AM ET

Hannah Anderson Meets with Friends and Community

Sixteen-year-old Hannah Anderson made her first public appearance since her dramatic rescue from kidnapping and murder suspect James DiMaggio.

The teenage girl was kidnapped and taken on a thousand-mile journey, before the FBI shot and killed her alleged abductor, and saved her life on Saturday.

Her “arrival at a fundraiser for her family came as a surprise to her relatives and friends,” reports CNN’s Casey Wian.

"This night was an unexpected reunion honestly,” her cousin Brandon Fambrough says. “All her friends were here… It was like we haven't skipped a beat."

The fundraiser was held at Boll Weevil Restaurant in Lakeside, California. The media was invited but not allowed inside during Hannah’s reunion.

Her father Brett Anderson told the press, "Hannah sends her love she's doing good day-by-day and we'll just keeping moving forward from here."

The fundraising event drew a large crowd of Hannah’s neighbors, friends and grandparents, wearing “Hannah Strong” and “Pray for Hannah” T-shirts.

Raffle ticket sales, cash donations and 20 percent of the restaurant's sales were all donated to the Anderson family, partly for Hannah's mother and brother's funeral.

“I wanted to say thank you all for coming,” Anderson said. “The community came together, putting on a great fund-raiser for Hannah, and hopefully her future and healing.”

Read more on Hannah's rescue here.

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Filed under: Abduction • Children
August 15th, 2013
12:09 PM ET

Should 3-Yr.-Old be with Biological Father or Adoptive Parents?

A resolution maybe in the works for a bitter custody battle over a three-year-old that has spread from Oklahoma to South Carolina and back again.

Melanie and Matt Capobianco adopted and raised baby Veronica for two years, before losing her over in a bitter custody dispute. Wednesday, they arrived in Oklahoma to try to regain custody.

"As soon as we arrived, we requested a visit with our daughter,” Melanie Capobianco said. “As a mother, my heart broke when our request was denied.”

"It's time for this to be over,” Matt Capobianco said. “With each passing day we lose another day with our daughter.”

Four years ago, Veronica's biological father Dusten Brown waived his parental rights.

“A member of the Cherokee nation, Brown later changed his mind, arguing federal law protects Native American children from being separated from their families,” reports CNN’s Zoraida Sambolin.

He was awarded custody in December 2011, but the case didn’t end there.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Capobiancos and South Carolina ordered the baby be handed back to them.

Even Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin weighed in via Twitter Wednesday, saying “Mr. and Mrs. Capobianco deserve an opportunity to meet with their adopted daughter.”

Another tweet read, “They also deserve the chance to meet with Mr. Brown and put an end to this conflict."After failing to show up to a court appearance Monday, Brown turned himself in to Oklahoma authorities.

“He was freed on $10,000 bond, but he still faces an extradition order to South Carolina,” Sambolin reports, “an order the Oklahoma governor promises to expedite if Brown fails to cooperate.”

Brown’s attorney told CNN, at his client’s request, and Governor Fallin's suggestion, that he reached to the Capobiancos’ representative to discuss a resolution with in the best interest of baby Veronica, including an offer to meet personally with the adoptive parents.

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Filed under: Adoption • Children • Parenting
June 14th, 2013
06:50 AM ET

Mother of missing toddler arrested – Pamela Brown reports

An 18-month-old Ohio girl has been missing for nearly two weeks now. This morning, her mother is behind bars and charged in the little girl's disappearance.

CNN's Pamela Brown has the story.

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Filed under: Children • Crime • Missing
June 13th, 2013
07:59 AM ET

10 year old recovering from transplant surgery in ICU – Jason Carroll has the latest

Today Sarah Murnaghan begins a brand new chapter in her young life. The 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl received a new set of lungs yesterday in a transplant operation.

Those lungs that came from an adult donor, made possible when the age restrictions for transplants were lifted this week, but only for one year.

Doctors call Sarah's prognosis good. CNN's Jason Carroll is in Philadelphia with the latest.

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Filed under: Children • Health • Medical