A Salt Lake couple accused of abandoning their small son in Idaho last Wednesday were arraigned in court on Tuesday on a fugitive warrant out of Boise and on local theft charges.
Edward Donald Tuinman, 29, and Deborah Tuinman, 28, appeared before 3rd Circuit Judge Michael Hutchings, who formally read them the accusations that have been filed against them.Hutchings also appointed a public defender to represent them until they are able to afford their own counsel.
The Tuinmans are charged with being fugitives from Idaho, where they have been charged with desertion of a child - a felony. Hutchings scheduled a 30-day review hearing for Feb. 10. It was unknown Tuesday whether the couple would fight extradition to Idaho.
The Tuinmans, who are being held in the Salt Lake County Jail, are also charged with a felony warrant out of Sandy for theft of services. The judge ordered the couple to appear Jan. 17 before Judge Floyd Gowans on those charges.
The two were arrested in Nephi Saturday night after a 5-year-old Salt Lake boy helped investigators determine the identity of "Johnny Doe" - the 7-year-old boy allegedly abandoned at a rest stop near Boise last Wednesday.
Jeremy Maddera, son of Debbie Maddera, Salt Lake City, recognized the boy as "Eddie" after seeing him on a TV news program on Jan. 6. That identification led police to arrest the abandoned boy's parents.
Jeremy told the Deseret News he was watching TV with his mother when he saw the boy on the news and recognized him because he had played with him before. A relative of the Tuinmans used to live next door, Maddera said. "They (Tuinmans) were over there all the time."
"I said, `That's him.' I told her that was Eddie," Jeremy said.
His mother said she then called the sheriff's office in Boise.
Eddie was found abandoned Wednesday at a rest stop on I-84, near Boise. He was wearing only a T-shirt and suffering from bruises and burn marks. Police said it also appeared he had suffered fractures, which had healed.
The boy was taken to a Boise hospital and was treated for exposure and malnutrition. Doctors said he appears to be developmentally delayed.
Charges were filed Monday in Salt Lake City, alleging the Tuinmans were fugitives from justice from the state of Idaho.
Besides the fugitive warrants out of Idaho, the couple is being held in the Salt Lake County Jail on local felony warrants out of Sandy for theft of services. The allegations accuse the couple of illegally taking natural gas from Mountain Fuel Supply between last April and June. They failed to appear at a Sept. 1 preliminary hearing in 3rd Circuit Court in Sandy, and an arrest warrant was issued.
Officials said Eddie has been released from the hospital and has been turned over to a foster family in Idaho.
Utah officials are investigating the possibility that he may have been abused while in Utah. If so, local child abuse charges could be filed.
Meanwhile, Eddie's 9-month-old brother, 6-year-old brother and 9-year-old sister have been taken into protective custody by the Utah Social Services Division.
During a 3rd District Juvenile Court hearing Monday, the children's maternal grandparents and maternal aunt requested custody, said juvenile court spokeswoman Sharon Gilsen. A Division of Family Services investigation will determine where the children will be placed.
The Tuinmans are also being investigated in connection with a theft at a Salt Lake motel. A Salt Lake police report says $185 worth of items were taken from the Regal Inn, 1025 N. Second West, where the couple stayed on Jan. 5. The report said two bedspreads, a heater, a blanket and towels were missing from the room.
Police said the Tuinmans, having fallen on hard times, had gone to Washington looking for work, but were unsuccessful and were en route to Arizona when they were arrested.