PARADISE — As officials continue to investigate Saturday’s death of a 7-year-old Paradise girl and the subsequent arrest of the child’s adoptive parents, neighbors say the family was well-behaved and oddly secluded behind fences and overgrown bushes that hid the family’s Crestwood Drive home.
Kevin Schatz, 46, and his wife, Elizabeth, 42, were arrested Saturday on suspicion of homicide and child abuse after 7-year-old Lydia Schatz died en route to the Chico Municipal Airport to catch a plane to Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento. She was pronounced dead at Enloe Medical Center in Chico.
Another 11-year-old adopted daughter is in critical condition at Sutter Memorial Hospital.
Paradise police Sgt. Steve Rowe confirmed Lydia was allegedly beaten for mispronouncing a word.
Police determined the incident was a result of child abuse. In a follow-up investigation, police discovered the 11-year-old in the same residence with significant injuries. Rowe could not elaborate on the elder girl’s injuries, although he said the girl did not suffer cardiac arrest.
Rowe said the elder adopted daughter did have kidney failure and previously was not expected to live. However, her condition was upgraded and she is expected to survive, he said.
The 3-, 7-, and 11-year-olds were adopted from the Republic of Liberia in Africa three years ago, Ramsey said. He said authorities are investigating how the adoptions were made and through what agency.
Since this is a homicide, the Schatzes are facing a life sentence if convicted.
The family was very religious, antisocial and overall odd, [neighbor Donna] Knotts said, comparing them to Jaycee Dugard who was kidnapped in 1991 and was found in the backyard of an Antioch couple’s home last August.