Casper Woman Speaks Out Against “Abusive” Foster Parents
On December 29th, an alleged victim of child abuse told K2 Radio News that foster father Steve Marler was arrested. The charges have not been made public.
For Kambria Marler, this was a Christmas miracle. "It came late, but I'm just happy it did." It's been three years since she escaped what she calls the House of Horrors.
Five years ago, Casperites recognized Kristen and Steve Marler as an outstanding couple who welcomed over 60 children into their enormous home on Casper Mountain.
They were even invited to the White House for providing a home to children of broken families. When Kambria first arrived she was just seven years old. She remembers it seemed a little scary at first, but Kristen was welcoming. It was around the time they legally adopted her that "things started to get weird."
Kambria claims that Steve began to molest her when she was nine.
Steve's initial appearance in circuit court is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. tomorrow at the Townsend Justice Center. There the judge will read the formal charges against Steve and assess bond.
This is Kambria's story. At this time, these are mere allegations. Steve is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
According to Kambria, days at the Marler home were spent doing schoolwork, Bible study, and chores. Kambria recalls stacking firewood, cleaning, taking care of their many huskies, and helping build an addition on the Marler house. As more and more children arrived she says it was a bit overwhelming. They had to ask permission to use the bathroom and shower.
Discipline was corporal. Kambria says she received too many spankings to count. The children were allegedly spanked with semi mud flaps, pipes, boards, and an "Obedience Paddle" for things like forgetting to say "Yes, Mom. Yes, Dad." Kambria says sometimes Kristen and Steve would become angry and they would hit. "I'm pretty sure all of us have had concussions."
Kambria alleges that Kristen and Steve began withholidng food from the children as a form of punishment. She would get so hungry she would eat dog food and says she even took raw meat off of animals hanging in the garage.
The girls allegedly began to "steal" food from the pantry and hide it in their room, prompting the Marler parents to remove the door. Eventually they were moved out of their room altogether and forced to sleep on the floor of the library.
Kambria says they tried, many times, to escape. When the Department of Family Services came to the house the children were too afraid to tell anyone what was happening.
Out of spite one day, Kambria etched an 'X' onto the dusty glass of a family portrait over Kristen's face. Her foster mother became enraged and began to beat her. Then, allegedly, she had the other foster children take sharpies and cross out Kambria's face in all their family photos.
Kambria says that after that she was forced to stand against a wall for about three months. She was only allowed to stop standing at night when she slept. The other children were not allowed to look at or talk to her.
After that, Kambria says the Marlers sent her to the Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy. When she arrived, they performed a health check and discovered that at 17 years old, Kambria weighed just 68 pounds. She was taken to the hospital for malnourishment and nearly-fractured feet from the standing.
Kambria has not had to go back to the Marler house since. That was in 2019. The other children were not taken out of the home until this year.
Two other alleged victims were returned to their biological mother in 2022. They reached out to K2 Radio News to share their stories, which were similiar to Kambria’s. At this time they wish to remain anonymous.
We were unable to contact Kristen Marler and she has not responded to the voicemail we left.
"What do you think is a fair punishment for Steve?" I asked Kambria.
"I want him to be just as scared and alone as I was," she said. "Forever."
Children's Advocacy Project Pinwheels for Abused Children
Gallery Credit: Kolby Fedore, Townsquare Media