The family of two children at the center of a horrific child abuse investigation is speaking about what they knew before the allegations came to light.
Nicholas Fuchs, 26, faces abuse charges centering around allegedly placing a 4-year-old girl in a dryer for wetting her pants and pinching the genitals of a 5-year-old boy. The abuse occurred between January and October of 2011 in an Oak Creek apartment.
Fuchs appeared in court Wednesday morning and waived his preliminary hearing.
The girl told investigators that Fuchs put her in the dryer "a lot of times," and "It was very dark and warm inside the dryer and this made (her) scared," according to a criminal complaint.
The girl also told investigators Fuchs would strike the bottom of her foot with a spoon, which "super hurt," and he pulled her arm behind her back and pushed it up, causing a fracture, the complaint said.
Her brother told investigators he also got the foot "spankings" while his mother was at work. Fuchs picked him up by his neck and threw him on a bed, pinched his genitals and would put the boy's feet in hot water if he urinated in his pants, the complaint said.
The children's mother found out about the abuse in February after overhearing her daughter threaten to put her 5-year-old son in the dryer like Fuchs did to her, the complaint said.
The mother told investigators she ended her relationship with Fuchs in September because he became verbally abusive toward her, the complaint said. Fuchs was charged Thursday and cash bond was set at $20,000 on Friday. He will make an appearance in court Wednesday
WISN 12 spoke to the grandparents of the children. They said they knew the children's mother had a relationship with Fuchs, but did not learn of the allegations until just before the charges were released Friday.
They said they were told "about the kids going in the clothes dryer," the grandparents said. "He said 'It's your grandkids' and I was like 'Oh my God, no."
They said their granddaughter wound up with a broken arm during that time frame, but they were not sure whether it was tied to the abuse allegations.
While the girl told the grandparents she wasn't sure how she broke it, the criminal complaint states the girl told police that "Mean Nick" did it.
The complaint also alleges that Fuchs picked up the 5-year-old boy by the neck.
"As far as the grandson, we saw some bruising on his heck and that a couple times," the grandparents said. "...Some bruises on his thighs."
Neither of the grandparents believe the mother or father knew about the abuse at the time. The grandmother said it is now her mission to make sure the children know how much they are loved.
Fuchs could face more than 70 years in prison if convicted.