Parents defend actions after details emerge in shocking child ne - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Parents defend actions after details emerge in shocking child neglect case of 11 children

Source: KCBD Video Source: KCBD Video
William Rembis at Lubbock County Courthouse (Source: KCBD Video) William Rembis at Lubbock County Courthouse (Source: KCBD Video)

Today the mother and father of a family in a custody battle with CPS are defending their actions and speaking to KCBD.

William and Claire Rembis have 11 children. They testified Tuesday at the Lubbock County Courthouse in their child neglect case. William says they as parents have done nothing wrong, despite neighbors claiming to have seen some of the children digging through the trash to find food.

Rembis said he did not want to show his face on camera.

"So it's a neighborhood feud, my kids were never in the trash I guarantee you. Plus we've got a lock on our back gate. My kids couldn't even get back there unless I unlocked it. Nobody else has the key," said Rembis.

But neighbor Michael Nanez claims he witnessed three of the Rembis children eating trash out of a dumpster in the back alley sometime in August.

"When I looked over the fence that day, the little girls were taking trash. I mean holding each other, uh the smallest one was in there and they were holding her down you know. And they would bring out whatever and just throw it right there and just be picking at the ground and eating whatever was in there," Nanez said. 

Claire Rembis, who would show her face on camera, also denied the claim her children would eat out of the dumpsters. 

“Being that an adult, someone with a key, usually my husband or me, has to be out there anyway for them to have access to the dumpster. Surely we would have seen them eating out of a dumpster. But I think common sense is called for right now. Um children are children but they are not stupid, you know. If a child is hungry, most likely they're not thinking 'Wow what's in the dumpster today, you know. Let's go get something good out of a dumpster.' I mean we've got to use some common sense here," Claire Rembis said.

Claire continued to say the accusations of neighbors claiming to hear loud screaming at night.

"There have been temper tantrums late at night and sometimes when children have temper tantrums they yell and they scream and that so, um. That, but that's in the house. You know and so it's hard for me to imagine that neighbor being able to hear that," she said. "So the only thing I can think of is um if its late at night and they're having a temper tantrum cause they can't go to the grocery store and so they scream."

The West Texas family named in a case of child neglect here in Lubbock has a long history with Child Protective Services, going back to 2001 and tracking across three states. A judge just ruled the children will remain in the care of the state.

William and Claire Rembis have previously been charged with physical and medical neglect of their children. At a recent court hearing, a CPS investigator said they believed the family had been moving to different states to avoid investigations.

Click here to read the allegations from the CPS report.

Ten of their 11 children are now in foster care. The parents have been ordered to pay $100 per month in child support. The court will follow up with a status hearing on Oct. 5.

The judge also issued an emergency removal order for the children, but the parents have the option to correct the behavior and living conditions at their home. The judge is not terminating their parental rights at this time and they are not currently facing criminal charges here in Lubbock.

"Feel like it's a witch hunt, because we have a large family, we're unconventional, by their standards," William Rembis said after the hearing on Tuesday.

The parents continue to deny all allegations, but the CPS reports document a shocking history of neglect: children left in appalling unsanitary conditions, screaming and "shrieks of terror" at all hours of the night, children found rooting through trash to find food.

Claire Rembis firmly denies this.

"They've never eaten out of dumpsters, they don't play in dumpsters. Our kids are smart and they can go grab a banana, if they're hungry. They're not going to go into a dumpster," she said after the hearing on Tuesday.

The family says they will be hiring a private attorney from here on out.

"They're not abused or neglected, so there's no reason to not return them," Claire Rembis said.

Their 17-year-old is currently living in Colorado, where the family planned to move. They only get one, one-hour supervised visit each week with all 10 kids.

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