Step-grandparents indicted in ‘unimaginable’ youngster abuse case in custody

HAMILTON COUNTY (WXIX) – The parents of a local woman who was charged earlier this year with abusing her young step-son also were indicted last week on charges of abusing the same child and now they are in custody.

Armin Rodriguez, 70, and Susan Rodriguez, 67, were booked into the Hamilton County jail late Monday on charges of child endangering and complicity.

Cincinnati Police District 1 officers brought them to the jail, most likely because they turned themselves in, jail officials say.

The Rodriguezes were held overnight without bond. It is not clear when they will make their first court appearances in the case. As of early Tuesday, it was not scheduled.

The couple “recklessly tortured or cruelly abused the victim,” who is their step-grandson,” court records show.

Prosecutors confirmed last week they are the parents of Amy Rodriguez Dangel, who was indicated in February for 11 counts of endangering children.

Amy’s husband, Anthony Dangel, a local fire department lieutenant, was also dictated for one count of endangering children.

“The torture perpetrated on this young child is unimaginable,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said last week when the step-grandparents were indicted.

“He is safe now and with family members who love him. I hope, in time, he will heal from the horrible things that have been done to him. We will do everything in our power to ensure no child suffers at the hands of the Rodriguez family again.”

Delhi Township police tell FOX19 NOW they believe Armin, Susan, and Amy Rodriguez all abused the same child, one of Amy’s two step-sons, who is 13.

Their investigation took many months to complete, and they worked with Cheviot police, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, and Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office.

Delhi Police Lt. Joe Macaluso has described the case as “heartbreaking.”

“It’s heartbreaking to think that anyone would be abused and much less be abused by somebody that’s trusted and loved,” he told FOX19 NOW last week.

“It was heartbreaking to investigate, and I’m happy that we’re able to have some kind of conclusion with this indictment.”

Prosecutors say Armin and Susan Rodriguez not only knew of Amy’s alleged abuse, but they also are responsible for acts of abuse in their own home.

They are accused of:

  • Making the boy stand in a spare room for hours on end without being allowed to use the bathroom
  • Beating him with a belt
  • With holding food from him

Prosecutors also say they believe the boy was monitored with cameras.

The complicity charges Armin and Susan also face stem from allegations that the two “aided or abbetted Amy Dangel to commit the offense of endangering children,” according to court documents.

Relatives tell FOX19 NOW the victim has a long road ahead of him.

He currently walks with a limp, suffers from intense pain and has emotional trauma.

His aunt, Heather Coombs, said her sister, the victim’s mother, Lisa Dangel, died in January 2016.

[RELATED: Aunt of alleged victim in ‘horrific’ child abuse case calls nephew strong, inspiring]

As for Amy Rodriguez Dangel’s ongoing case, Cheviot police say they believe the mother abused her 13-year-old stepson for three years inside a home on Trevor Avenue.

Prosecutors allege she beat him with belts and spoons, starved him, strapped him to a bed and forced him to stand in a corner for hours on end without access to a restroom.

Anthony Dangel, the boy’s biological father and a now-former lieutenant with the Miami Township Fire Department, is accused of doing nothing to stop his wife from abusing his son.

The Dangels are both scheduled to return to court on Tuesday for a plea or trial setting that has been delayed twice, most recently last week, court records show.

Miami Township Trustee Mike Robison told FOX19 NOW last week Anthony was originally placed on unpaid administrative leave once the board of trustees learned of his arrest and the charges.

The board voted at their March 16 meeting to terminate Anthony’s employment, Robison said.

Amy was also employed by the fire department until December 2019, according to the department fire chief.

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