06/17/13 — Couple in court

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Couple in court

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on June 17, 2013 1:46 PM

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Maj. Erin Pickel

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Jennifer Pickel

A Seymour Johnson Air Force Base officer and his wife were scheduled to appear in a Wayne County courtroom this morning, as they stand accused of child abuse and neglect lawmen allege date back at least three years.

Erin James Pickel, 44, and Jennifer Kay Pickel, 43, of 527 Forest Hills Drive -- the adoptive parents of a 15-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl -- face five counts of intentional child abuse and another five counts of felony child neglect each.

A Goldsboro Police Department arrest sheet for Erin Pickel lists his employer as Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and his occupation as "Air Force Officer."

4th Fighter Wing officials confirmed this morning that Pickel is a major assigned to the base, but said additional information regarding the investigation should be directed to the GPD, as the alleged offenses occurred off base and city officers were the ones who filed the charges.

Arrest warrants obtained by the News-Argus Friday list the dates of the offenses as May 1, 2010, through May 28, 2013.

And the warrants also detailed some of the abuse allegations -- that both children were repeatedly assaulted, resulting in "serious physical injury, bleeding lacerations and bruises to the arms and buttocks"; that the children were forced to remain outside "in a playhouse" without provisions or proper clothing, heat or electricity, and with "reckless disregard for human life."

For complete coverage of the Pickels' first appearance, see Tuesday's News-Argus or follow us on Twitter @newsarguscops

News-Argus Staff Writer John Joyce contributed to this report.