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Neglect case heads to District Court

by David Cole
| December 31, 2010 8:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - The mother and grandmother accused of seriously neglecting and possibly abusing twin 2-year-old girls have been bound over into 1st District Court for trial.

Elisabeth C. Crossley, 26, and her mother, Ruth K. Cassidy, 55, both of Coeur d'Alene, appeared in court Thursday in orange jail suits and shackled at the wrist and ankles before Magistrate Clark A. Peterson, waiving their right to a preliminary hearing. Prosecutors had been scheduled to call multiple witnesses during the hearing to establish probable cause.

Both are charged with two counts of felony injury to a child.

Crossley and Cassidy's defense attorneys, Craig Zanetti and Jed Nixon, said in court that they have been presented with a pretrial settlement offer from prosecutors. But no decision has been made by the defenders on whether or not their clients would be accepting the offer.

Crossley's girls, who were living with her and Cassidy at their apartment on the 1200 block of North Lincoln Way in Coeur d'Alene, were taken from her after police witnessed the shockingly filthy living conditions she allegedly had subjected the children to in a sealed-off bedroom with no clothes, furniture or bedding.

Both Crossley and Cassidy are in Kootenai County jail.

The two women are likely to be scheduled for arraignment in three to four weeks, when a possible plea deal could be presented to the court. Their cases were assigned to District Court Judge John Luster.

Police said they have never witnessed worse living conditions for children than were seen in this case when Crossley was arrested Dec. 5. Cassidy was arrested days later after a warrant was issued.

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