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DIGGING DEEPER: PCSD, state agency pays $1.1M to Tucson family

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TUCSON (KVOA) - It's a story News 4 Tucson first told you about. Young people were breaking into expensive houses that were empty and for sale and throwing "mansion parties."

They would trash them and cause thousands of dollars worth of damage.

However, a Pima County Sheriff's Department detective crossed the line and lied to a judge. A family's two sons were removed from their home by the Department of Child Services.

In the end, it cost the state and the county $1.1 million, that you paid for.

The Daschke family told the Digging Deeper Team, the money will never cover the emotional and psychological scars they were left with . All because they exercised their civil rights and requested an attorney be present when detectives questioned their son.

"It was retaliation, it was all because we chose not to speak without a lawyer," said Gretchen Daschke.

This goes back to 2016, when mansion parties were occurring at expensive homes and sheriff's deputies were raiding them.

Their son Zachary said he attended one party and stayed 30 to 45 minutes.

"So when I got there, there were a bunch of people and I saw some kid run in from a wall to another that's when I grabbed my friends and said we gotta go."

Then Detective Ted Hartenstein accused him of being the mastermind of the mansion parties and told the parents that's why he wanted to question Zach.

Zach wasn't refusing to talk but just wanted his parents and an attorney present.

"That's just something because you don't want them to take something you say that means that and its not what you meant."

That is when the family's nightmare began, according to the mother.

"Hartenstein decided I'm going to call DCS ( Department of Child Services) try taking them away or try to get them to speak to me. That's exactly what he did and he lied to do it."

A federal judge found out that Hartenstein lied to a superior court judge.

Karl Daschke, the father said, "Rather than going out and getting an arrest warrant, he goes out and lies and gets a search warrant to come to the house and find something like we said he had nothing to begin with."

The former detective then pursued a juvenile dependency action against the parents based on unfounded allegations of neglect.

Daschke said as a father he felt helpless when their sons were removed from their home just days before Christmas in 2016.

"My job is to keep my family safe and provide for them and make sure they're OK," he said.

What happened next still haunts his wife to this day.

The younger son who 14 was placed in a group home.

"Where he was bullied, kids were telling him he was a white boy, to kill himself and jump off the roof. They were hitting him they were taking couch cushions and sitting on his face."

Zach and his brother were returned to their parents within a week.

However, Zach admitted, "The worse part for me is what happened to my little brother, I feel responsible for that everyday….(pauses) sorry."

Gretchen and the younger son are undergoing counseling and are working on getting better.

She has a message for the former detective.

"You tore us apart, you turned us upside down, and we're having to recover from it," she said. "It's not ok what you did."

Hartenstein resigned from the Sheriff's Department about a year ago.

Michael Garth Moore. the family's attorney said, "His name went on something known as the Brady List and he no longer can testify, as long as he can't testify, he can no longer be a cop. That's why he is no longer a cop."

As for the three DCS employees, the attorney said nothing has happened to them.

For more information on the "8 Things Every Parent Should Know When Confronted By Law Enforcement," visit mgmoorelaw.com/

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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