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Posted: August 20, 2013 7:44 p.m.

Three arrested on child cruelty charges

Three people were arrested at a Hull Road residence Aug. 14 for cruelty to children after officials say three children were allegedly kept inside the home by their adoptive father for multiple months.

The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office investigators arrived at the home following a visit by officials with the Department of Family and Children Services who went to the home with deputies to interview the father and the three children after receiving a tip. Specific details surrounding the condition of the home or the children, two boys and a girl ages 8, 10, and 15, respectively, who are biological siblings reportedly adopted from Ukraine, have not yet been released.

The children’s adoptive father, Lev Dzyuba, 37, was charged with cruelty to children — deprivation of necessary sustenance, first degree.

His sisters Alina Anna Dzyuba, 20, and Natalia Mellon, 26, of Lilburn were charged with: cruelty to children — causes excessive physical or mental pain, first degree.

Neighbors said the mother of the family, Larisa Dzyuba, 34, had died last August. One neighbor, who declined to be identified, said she had not seen the children outside of the home in at least two months. Officials said the children had been in the United States since 2010 and it does not appear they were enrolled in school. They were placed in protective custody following their father’s arrest.

"It’s still an ongoing investigation," Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett said Thursday evening. "There are still more interviews to occur."

Investigators carried evidence from the home, located across from the Hidden Valley subdivision, Wednesday and most of Thursday. The brick home was surrounded by a well-manicured lawn with a swing set in the backyard and basketball goal in the driveway. Signs in the yard informed visitors that all activity on the property was being recorded, and surveillance cameras could be seen above the garage. Parked in the driveway was a work van advertising "Dzyuba HVAC and Electrical," a company bearing the father’s last name.

Local pastor and Hidden Valley Drive resident Andrew Covington said he did not know the family and was surprised to learn of the alleged crimes being committed against the children, who he said his own school-aged children did not know.

"All the neighbors have been shocked," Covington said Thursday. "All our kids would have ridden the bus; it’s the same bus route. Nobody can piece this together."

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