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Nine of the 10 children at the center of alleged cases of child abuse have been taken into protective custody by Chinese officials, a American expatriate source familiar with the situation and a report in Legal Daily indicated Sunday.

The situation first came to light on Thursday, when reports surfaced that an eight-year-old girl, ethnically Chinese but speaking English and only basic Mandarin, was dropped off by a male foreigner at a Beijing hospital on November 21 for treatment. The foreigner has not returned, however that person may not be the man identified as American Ray Wigdal. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

On Friday, Wigdal arranged to move the children to a location near the Lido with the help of some volunteers, the source told the Beijinger. "The volunteers arranged to have three vans to transport the kids so they were safe. The volunteers picked up the kids and were planning to take them to breakfast somewhere in the Shunyi area, as the kids said they hadn’t eaten breakfast and were very hungry. The volunteers drove in a caravan back from Lido towards Shunyi area on the Airport Expressway and when they exited at the Beigao exit, authorities and child protection officials stopped the cars and instructed the volunteers to follow them with the kids to an approved child protection safe house," the source said.

"When the volunteers arrived at the child protection center and entered with the kids it took a little time to get things organized and worked out as this is a very serious case involving 10 kids and the authorities were very sensitive and wanted to make sure things were done correctly.  The volunteers, child psychologist, social worker, and professional counselor were with the kids the entire time and the kids were safe and treated kindly and with great patience and compassion," the source said.

In a story from Saturday night's Legal Daily, an elderly Chinese lady identified as "Granny Guo," who claims to have been assisting Wigdal in taking care of the children offered a possible alibi. She told reporters that Widgal was in the US when the girl first was injured, and suggests her injuries were more likely the case of an injury from a bike accident worsened by roughhousing amongst the children. She did admit that Wigdal had struck the children before, which could explain why the girl told volunteers that her foster father had hit her.

Wigdal has adopted 10 Chinese children ranging in ages from three months to 17 years old, according to Legal Daily, although group photos of the children show none over the age of 12 or 13. Wigdal and the children once lived at Shunyi residence compound Capital Paradise. He was often spotted by area residents say the man was a frequent customer at the Pinnacle Plaza Starbucks nearby, where he would sip coffee while his children played in and around the store.

The children have said little, but have asked "Where is he," referring apparently to Wigdal, and also allegedly said, "We do not like him, but we don't want to be separated from our brothers and sisters," according to Legal Daily.

It is unclear what legal action Wigdal may face. A key element is that he is not the legal adoptive parent of some or all of the children.

Photo: Ray's Children

Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog