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Mother, son accused in ‘horrific’ child abuse of adopted special needs kids face judge

Last Updated 2 days by Amnon J. Jobi | Amnon Front Page

Bailey Edmonson appeared in court hours after his mother Matthew Edmonson faced a judge to face new charges related to what Clermont County Prosecutor Mark Tekulve called a “heartbreaking and horrific” case of child abuse in Batavia.

Prosecutors in Matthew’s hearing urged Judge Richard Ferenc to increase her bond from $500,000 for her initial indictment with the addition of increased charges that could carry a prison sentence of 208 years if convicted on all counts.

The prosecutor described the conditions five of the Edmonsons’ adopted special needs kids were held in.

“Withholding food to the point of starvation, withholding water, clothing, being forced to stay in basically a dungeon room in the basement in diapers,” she said.

Another member of the prosecutor’s office said they had evidence Bailey was complicit and “actively involved” in some of the kids’ discipline.

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After Tekulve’s initial announcement of Matthew and husband Charles Edmonson’s indictment, neighbors we talked with said they were in disbelief.

“I never saw her mistreat them,” neighbor Linda McCoy said. “She’d make them mind, but when they were out there they played outside they were happy as ever.”

The Clermont County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation began because a different adult adopted son accused Charles of sexual assault in early 2022, an accusation that later in 2023 lead to his charging and conviction.

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Court documents reviewed by WCPO show the Clermont County Probate Court later awarded Charles legal guardianship over that adult son despite the allegation against him.

The documents show Charles told a court investigator about the accusation of abuse in a report submitted to the court Dec. 5, 2022.

The investigator said “(the son) is one of the most vulnerable people I have met due to mental illness.”

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On Dec. 14, 2022, a judge granted Charles guardianship over the child.

He was indicted in October 2023 and eventually sentenced to a three-year prison sentence in connection with the son’s accusations of sexual assault.

ProKids Executive Director Tracy Cook said people often overlook basic signs of abuse in other children that could lead to them getting help.

“There are things we can do to help these children,” Cook said.

Cook said withdrawal, aggression, odd comments, extreme fear, and unexplained injuries can be common signs of abuse within a household, and she urged anyone with a reasonable suspicion to call their local county Jobs and Family Services Department if there’s any doubt a child may be abused.

“People often hold back and don’t report because, oh, I’m not sure. You don’t have to be sure,” Cook said.

Tekulve credited a flood of calls to investigators for the additional charges brought Tuesday.

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“Since my office first announced this investigation, we have continually received calls. We are certain there are more individuals out there who have information to report. If you know anything, please call either the Clermont County Sheriffs Office, and ask for Mike Ross, or the Clermont County Prosecutors Office at 513-732-7313. There is no such thing as too much evidence. . . Please call.

A judge ordered Bailey Edmonson held on a $500,000 bond and another raised Matthew’s bond to $1,000,000.

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