This story started on March 19, 2013 when Joan Gensiak was arrested along with her sister and mother for starving their 32-year-old brother Robert, who had Down Syndrome. He had not seen a doctor in two years and had severe psoriasis associated with hypothermia. His body temperature was only 92 degrees and he weighed only 69 pounds. He died in the hospital on March 20, 2013. Joan has a 5-year old son, 9-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter who were placed with their father Michael Wallace and his wife Narda.
“On March 25, police and Children and Youth officials took Joan Gensiak’s 2-year-old daughter, fearing her well-being because the home was riddled with scabies, lice and possibly ringworm. Joan Gensiak told police that Dr. Remick had diagnosed her toddler with scabies but she didn’t agree with the diagnosis so she refused to use the medication prescribed.
Instead, she decided to treat her daughter’s rash with baby oil.
The child was taken to the emergency room of Moses Taylor Hospital where she received treatment for scabies”
Mom, daughters charged with starving family member with Down syndrome to death
[The Times Tribune 6/20/13 by Joseph Kohut]
On Tuesday September 10, 2013, “Narda and Michael Wallace were taken into custody by Archbald Police Tuesday night. Officers said they found the couple’s three-year-old daughter with bruises all over her body.
Investigators claim the girl’s brothers, ages five and nine, told police about being punched, hit with coat hangers and whipped with belts by their parents at their home.”
Parents Accused of Whipping, Beating Children
“Narda and Michael Wallace had three children living at their home in Archbald and last night were charged with child abuse, accused of repeatedly beating the 9 year old and 5-year-old boys and a 3-year-old girl who came to them about four months.
She’s the daughter of Joan Gensiak of Taylor who was arrested earlier this year in one of the most shocking neglect cases police say they’ve ever seen.
In a matter of hours after hearing allegations, Archbald police had Narda and Michael Wallace in handcuffs and charged them with assault and endangering the welfare of children.
The three children the couple had between them were rushed out of their home in the Valley View Estates mobile home park in Archbald. The 9 year old and 5-year-old boys told investigators they were often punched but the 3-year-old girl got the real beating.
According to court papers, the boys told police Narda Wallace would hit the girl with hangers and wooden spoons, pour hot sauce on her tongue, and would sometimes make her sleep on the kitchen floor.
This all came to light when a teacher from Jermyn Head Start spotted bruises on the girl.
“Right from the beginning, the teacher observed the injury and knew what their role was, passed it on, and you see the end result now,” said Archbald Police Chief Tim Trently.
The arrest of Narda and Michael Wallace is the end result of what’s been an apparently tumultuous year for that 3-year-old girl.”
“After the arrest, police in Dickson City thought Narda Wallace was a woman they are looking for. She’s now a person of interest in a fraud case we told you about last week.
Dickson City police are investigating to see if Narda Wallace is the woman is surveillance video using a stolen credit card last month at CVS in the borough.
Now, Wallace is accused of abusing a child who came to her home looking for a safe haven.
Narda and Michael Wallace’s three children are now in protective custody, while the couple is behind bars facing a long list of child abuse charge.s They’re expected back in court next week.”
Archbald Couple Accused Of Abuse
[WNEP 9/12/13 by Stacy Lange]
“The abuse happened in a trailer at Valley View Estates.
While neighbors are now upset over the arrest of Narda and Michael Wallace, many weren’t surprised.
One neighbor, who asked not to be identified said, “I balled. I cried. I cried terribly. You don’t want children? Give them to people that can’t have them.”
According to Archbald police, Narda Wallace hit the three-year-old girl on the back with a plastic hanger until it broke. They then say she hit the girl with a wooden spoon.
When the girl was examined Wednesday, court documents indicate she had bruises on both her ears, left thigh, stomach, hip, hands and arm.
“It’s very sad that a three-year-old innocent child has to be put in that situation,” Archbald Police Chief Tim Trently said.
Court documents also allege that when the girl peed her pants, Narda Wallace would call her “nasty” and a “dummy” and would make her sleep on the kitchen floor without a blanket or pillow.
She also allegedly put hot sauce on the girl’s tongue.
Neighbors say they often saw Narda yelling at the girl out in the open.
“My mother died. I gave the girl a doll my mother gave me and Narda threw it away,” one neighbor said.
Michael Wallace is accused of punching in the chest, not only the three-year-old girl, but also the five and nine year old boys who lived in the home.
One of the boys told investigators the punches were so strong it felt like his heart was being ripped out of his chest.
“Any type of child abuse, there’s never an excuse for that,” Chief Trently said. “What causes people to do that? I don’t know if I’ll ever understand that.”
Investigators say one of the reasons why the girl may have been abused on Wednesday is because she was having a hard time fixing the tongue of her shoes.
Police took all three children in the home into emergency custody and placed them in temporary foster care.”
Archbald Couple Arrested on Child Abuse Charges
[PA Homepage 9/12/13]
“An alert worker at the Head Start program in Jermyn took the first step that led to Thursday’s arrests of Michael Wallace, 42, and Narda Dee Wallace, 35, of 35 Valley View Estates, Archbald, on charges of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of children.
The worker noticed bruises on the little girl’s ears Wednesday and reported it to Children and Youth Services, which called Jermyn police, who in turn, gave the case over to police in Archbald because the abuse took place there.
A Children and Youth caseworker contacted the Children’s Advocacy Center and arranged for an immediate interview and doctor’s examination of the girl, according to the arrest affidavit.
The exam found bruises on her left thigh similar to the kind inflicted by a belt and other injuries on her stomach and left side. The stomach and side bruises “are possible bite marks,” a doctor told police.
The girl also had bruises on her right hip, on her left arm from the forearm to above the elbow and “multiple skeletal bruises.”
“(The girl) told (the) Children and Youth worker … and her Head Start teacher that her ‘mom’ hit her,” the affidavit says. On Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Jennifer McCambridge identified Mrs. Wallace is the girl’s stepmother”
“One time, Mrs. Wallace kept hitting the girl with a plastic hanger until the hanger broke, the boy told police. After the hanger broke, Mrs. Wallace picked up a wooden spoon and continued hitting the girl, the boys said.
“Both boys stated that they heard mom yelling and hitting (their sister) in the morning (Wednesday) because she had a hard time fixing the tongue on her shoes,” the affidavit says. “(The 9-year-old boy) stated that (his sister) sometimes ‘pees’ in her pants and bed and mom calls her nasty and a dummy.”
That wasn’t all.
“Mom also puts hot sauce on (the little girl’s) tongue and makes her keep her tongue out so she can’t wash it away,” the affidavit says.
The 9-year-old boy said he and his brother used to get hit with a belt and a wooden stick described as a “back scratcher” a lot. He also told investigators the abuse happened “mostly always, each and every day.”
In interviews with Archbald police, the Wallaces denied ever hitting their children.
Mr. Wallace remembered the girl having trouble with the tongue on her shoe and her stepmother yelling at her and “calling her stupid,” but his wife never hit the girl.
Mrs. Wallace denied her stepdaughter had any problems while getting dressed, but admitted hitting her son with a belt when he was younger and said she “no longer does it.”
Mr. Wallace was charged with three counts each of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of children. Mrs. Wallace is facing one count each of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of children. Both remain in Lackawanna County Prison in lieu of $15,000 bail each. Their preliminary hearings are set for Wednesday at 10:15 a.m.”
A version of this column originally appeared in www.reformtalk.net.