By Chad Frey Newton Kansan @ChadFrey

The sentencing hearing for James Nachtigal and his wife, Paige, has been rescheduled for the second time — pushed back from Jan. 31 to 9:30 a.m. March 8.

The sentencing hearing for James Nachtigal and his wife, Paige, has been rescheduled for the second time — pushed back from Jan. 31 to a date not yet determined. The couple has been convicted of multiple cases of child abuse, their victims internationally adopted children.

According to Harvey County prosecutor David Yoder, the hearing was postponed due to the death in the family of a member of the Nachtigal's defense team.

The sentencing hearing for James Nachtigal and his wife, Paige, had been rescheduled for Jan. 31 after filings prior to a Dec. 21, 2017 sentencing hearing. The sentencing hearing will be contested, meaning the prosecution and defense do not agree on what the sentence should be and each will argue their case in front of a judge. In this case, the judge is Joe Dickenson. 

James and Paige Nactigal had each been charged with five counts of abuse of a child and seven counts of aggravated battery after an investigation removed three internationally adopted children from their home in 2016. The three children were adopted from Peru, where James and Paige Nachtigal once served as missionaries.

The couple entered pleas in August, avoiding separate jury trials that were set for September. James Nachtigal, a former nursing home administrator in Newton, pleaded guilty and was convicted of three counts of abuse of a child. Paige Nachtigal pleaded guilty and was convicted of two counts of abuse of a child. All other charges against the pair were dropped. Under the agreement, they will each have to pay restitution.

The case began Feb. 5, 2016, when an 11-year-old child ran away from the Nachtigal home. The child was reported missing by his parents, later located by a member of the Kansas Highway Patrol in a farm field walking barefoot.He told officers he left the home because “he had not done his homework and he had sinned,” said then Sheriff T. Walton.

Three days later North Newton Police Chief Randy Jordan launched an investigation, talking to those close to the family and neighbors about concerns. The children were removed from their home Feb. 11, 2016, by North Newton Police Department over concerns about the treatment of the children. Medical examinations began Feb. 12, 2016.

During those exams, one boy and one girl were found to be severely malnourished with multiple bruises with either current broken bones or healing of past broken bones. Injuries included a broken leg, a dislocated elbow that had not properly healed, formerly fractured fingers and formerly broken ribs.

James and Paige Nachtigal were arrested Feb. 16, 2016, after a child in need of care hearing at the Harvey County Courthouse.