Alabama DHR cannot confirm how many times they visited the Spurgeon home

A former Florence couple is facing almost 700 charges for sexually abusing and assaulting children for years.

Posted: Nov. 7, 2017 1:19 PM

(Note: This story originally aired in March 2017)
A former Florence couple is facing almost 700 charges for sexually abusing and assaulting children for years.

Investigators told WAAY 31 they think the abuse went on for years.

The I-Team went to work in an instant investigation. The Alabama Department of Human Resources wouldn't answer any questions about this specific case, because it is an on-going investigation.

Agents did tell us law requires them to visit the homes of foster parents at least once a month. Those visits can be scheduled or unannounced.

Thursday, the Department of Human Resources wouldn't talk about the charges against Daniel and Jenise Spurgeon.

The agency did say there's a thorough background check before a couple is able to foster children. DHR told the I-team it includes looking into any arrest or criminal offense, even if the charge was eventually dropped.

There's also a training process, home study and medical check of the couple willing to foster.

Florence Police say the Spurgeons took in at least 50 children from 2008-2015.

Most neighbors didn't even want to talk about the case, but one neighbor was willing to talk to us if we hid her identity.

"Occasionally the children would ride with me somewhere and never led on that anything was wrong," said a neighbor who lives close to where the Spurgeons used to live in Florence.

Police say there was plenty wrong as the two are charged with sexual abuse, assault, torture, rape and human trafficking -- all adding up to almost 700 counts over the years.

DHR would not say how often agents checked on the children, but the neighbor we spoke with only remembers seeing them once.

"I don't recall seeing DHR but that doesn't mean anything, since we were usually gone in the day time," said the neighbor.

Police in Florida arrested the Spurgeon's last July on similar charges. 9 months later, investigators charged them in Florence.

A spokesperson for DHR said agents are shocked by this case. This neighbor understands why.

"You feel like you should know those things, if it's that severe. You should catch on to something going on," the neighbor said.

DHR wouldn't say if there were any prior complaints against the Spurgeon's.

Investigators say they will be back in Florence to face their charges soon.

They are both currently sitting in a Florida jail.

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