By BEN BOTKIN
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Two former foster parents were arrested on charges of abuse and neglect of three children whom they later adopted, according to Las Vegas police reports released Thursday.
Janet Solander, 53, and Dwight Solander, 50, face multiple felony charges that include child abuse, neglect or endangerment. The mother also is charged with sexual assault of a minor. Also facing charges is Janet Solander’s biological daughter, Danielle Hinton, 21.
The three adults were taken into custody March 20 after Metro SWAT officers served a search warrant at their home on Wakashan Avenue, near Deer Springs Way and Grand Canyon Drive. The foster children were placed there by the Clark County Department of Family Services in June 2010, and were adopted by the Solanders in January 2011, police reports show.
Four other foster children placed in the Solander home in March 2013 were removed from the Solander home by Child Protective Services in late February.
According to the police report, CPS made a September, 2013 home visit and took photos showing an orange bucket with a toilet seat on top and a flat, rectangular board on the floor. Danielle Hinton told police that the girls were forced to sit on the bucket for hours as punishment and to use it as a toilet. The girls were forced to sleep on the board.
When the agency returned in February, a CPS worker asked where the adopted girls were. Janet Solander told her they were in Nebraska, and “it is none of your business.”
The CPS worker contacted Las Vegas police, who learned from Dwight Solander that the girls were in fact at Marvelous Girls Grace Academy, a private school in Pace, Fla.
After being notified by Clark County Child Protective Services, Florida caseworkers found the three girls, who said they feared returning home and believed their adoptive mother would end up killing them, police reports show.
The alleged abuse began in January 2011 — the same month they were adopted — and lasted into November 2013. The girls ranged in age from about 9 to 12 years old at the time of the abuse, court records show.
The girls told Florida caseworkers that the three defendants hit them with a paint stick on their legs and buttocks until they bled if they had an accident or answered homework problems wrong, police said. Medical exams found scarring.
Janet Solander had a timer and prevented the girls from using the bathroom until it went off, the police report said. The girls were in pain from being forced to wait, police said. One of the daughters told investigators that if they had bathroom accidents, Janet Solander would force the girls to put their soiled underwear in their mouths.
Janet Solander also punished them with cold showers, pouring a pitcher of ice water over them and forcing them to dry off with a large fan, according to the police report.
The girls slept in their underwear on boards with no blankets or sheets, the report said. The home had surveillance cameras, and their adoptive mother monitored them with a cellphone, the police report said.
The girls also told investigators that Janet Solander would catheterize them, then beat them if urine came out, the police report said.
In a statement, Family Services spokeswoman Kristi Jourdan said the Solanders have been licensed foster parents since 2010. The department has suspended their license and intends to revoke it. She declined to comment on specifics of the ongoing investigation, citing confidentiality requirements.
After the foster children were removed from the Solander home, a Department of Family Services nurse told CPS staff about a 2013 book self-published by Janet Solander, “Foster Care: How to Fix This Corrupted System,” the police report said. The book details her criticisms of the foster care system, and offers advice on how to deal with children.
“The easiest and most defiant way for a child to vent is by urinating or defecating in his or her pants, on the bed, or on another object …,” she wrote. “This is where the rage could start for foster parents.”
Solander, who identified herself as a nurse in her book biography, wrote that the family has fostered more than 20 children. She also defends installation of cameras in the house as helpful, given that one child, due to a psychological disorder, mutilated herself.
“…Video provides indisputable evidence of anything that happens in the house,” she wrote.
If Solander’s book is factual, CPS has investigated the family before. Solander wrote that one of her adopted daughters had a mark on her face that caught the attention of a caseworker. The daughter, whom Solander described as “manipulative,” told the caseworker that the mother had pushed her, according to the book’s account.
“Needless to say, CPS came out to our home the very next day to investigate our daughter’s claims,” Solander wrote. “After talking with all the family members living in the home, they found no evidence that our daughter had been abused or neglected, something we already knew.”
Family Services declined comment on the book.
In the 23-count indictment, Dwight Solander is charged with three counts of child abuse, neglect or endangerment with substantial bodily harm; both parents are charged with 12 counts of child abuse, neglect or endangerment; and Danielle Hinton is charged with three counts of child abuse, neglect, or endangerment with substantial bodily harm. Janet Solander is also charged with four counts of child abuse, neglect or endangerment with substantial bodily harm and one count of sexual assault of a minor.
Bail is set at $250,000 for Dwight Solander. No bail was listed for Janet Solander. Both are being held at the Clark County Detention Center. Hinton also remained in jail Thursday, with bail set at $50,000.
A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for April 8.