NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Queens couple accused of kidnapping their eight children faced a judge on Thursday.

Shanel Nadal, 28, and Nephra Payne were both arraigned in criminal court after waiving extradition. They were caught last month in Harrisburg, Pa. They were being held on $75,000 bail.

The two are accused of taking their children from a Queens foster care facility during a supervised visit.

“We’re hoping an investigation is going to exonerate them completely,” said defense attorney Norman Steiner.

Nadal told CBS 2 that the children were being abused and that she feared for their safety.  It is a claim that was elaborated upon by Steiner on Thursday.

“In addition to the physical abuse and the sexual molestation they were enduring in the foster care system, that they weren’t being fed,” he said.

According to Steiner, the parents also gave one of the kids a cell phone to keep with them while in foster care and were told to keep it their pocket to allow both Nadal and Payne to hear what was going on with the children.  Steiner says that the kids could be heard begging for food during meal times.

Family members — including Payne’s brother, Emperor Building — were also in Queens, trying to support the couple being accused of wrongdoing.

“I’m just here to support my little brother and his wife.  It’s wrong what ACS did to them, but I’ll leave the rest of the stuff to the lawyers,” Building told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services said it has not received any complaints against the foster parents.

The two are charged with kidnapping, custodial interference and child endangerment. Authorities said the children, who range in age from 11 months old to 11 years old, have since been returned to foster care.

Please share your thoughts below…

More From CBS New York

Download Weather App

Watch & Listen LIVE