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After hearing a tearful apology from Sylvia Vasquez for her violation of a court order that specifically barred her from communicating with her adopted children, Judge Joseph Lodge was sufficiently moved to reduce her bail last Thursday from $5 million, a county record, to $1 million, effectively releasing Vasquez, 50, from county jail. The former childcare provider and foster mother was charged earlier this year with child abuse and neglect after Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies found three of her children living in sometimes filthy conditions and periodically under confinement, while a fourth child was allegedly injected with an antigrowth hormone. Vasquez’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 24.

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