Dallas, July 22 (ANI): Three children found locked inside a Love Field area motel bathroom in Texas this month were so emaciated that they vomited when child protective workers first tried to feed them.
Court records reveal that the starved children were in such a bad condition that their ribs protruded, their cheeks and eyes sank into dark hollows, and their lips were dry, swollen and cracked.
According to authorities, the children aged 6, 10 and 11, had been kept inside the bathroom day and night for almost a year or maybe longer, and their mother told authorities she would flush and clean it every morning so the children "would be in a clean place".
Besides being starved and locked in the bathroom, the children also went through physical, emotional and sexual abuse by their stepfather, which their mother, Abneris Santiago, was unable to stop, as she feared him.
The kids were discovered after their mother's brother drove from Ohio to check on the family, and called Dallas police.
He remembers watching them as they emerged from the suite.
"My jaw just hit the floor," the Dallas Morning News quoted Abner Santiago as saying.
"I just broke down," he said.
The brother said that his sister had spoken to their mother on the phone.
"My sister told her that Alfredo was being very abusive to her, that he's been threatening her, that he's been threatening to kill the kids," the brother said.
The children were taken to Children's Medical Center Dallas, where they remained for 10 days.
The 11-year-old daughter told investigators she thought they had been shut in the bathroom since October, but authorities were not certain whether she meant 2007 or 2008.
She said that the only times they were allowed to leave the bathroom was when Alfred Santiago took a shower.
She added that he had been raping her for three years, and that she'd told her mother about it several times.
The 10-year-old, a boy, was covered with bruises in various stages of healing, and he revealed that his stepfather would beat him and his mother every time he was drunk.
So far, Santiago, 30, faces a charge of injury to a child. Her husband, 37-year-old Alfred Santiago, faces charges of aggravated sexual assault and continuous sexual abuse.
Both are being held in the Dallas County Jail. (ANI)