A mother named Jamie Hicks is under investigation after two of her children ran away from her house, and told their stories concerning more than 8 years of abuse.
While being home schooled and completely isolated from the outside world, Hicks’ eight children suffered all sorts of torture including physical abuse, severe malnutrition, and situations where they nearly drowned.
According to The Tampa Bay Times, the oldest children – who are twins – ran away and were discovered by a pediatric nurse who noticed they were extremely malnourished.
The site reports:
Over eight years, Hicks hit the children with various objects, choked them to the point of unconsciousness, held their heads under water, fed them spoiled food and withheld food from them for as long as three days, police say.
She would make her children regurgitate food, then force them to eat it, police say. She would punish them for “stealing” food. Sometimes she would make her oldest sons — twin 16-year-olds — stand still for hours, naked.
At some point, the Florida Department of Children and Families investigated the family, but the agency would not provide details Friday. That case was closed. Tampa police say they became aware of the abuse this week after two of the children ran away.
On Thursday, a pediatric nurse declared the twins malnourished. One was 88 pounds and another 94. They should be 135 pounds, authorities say. They were taken to a hospital.
Police have charged Hicks with two counts of aggravated child abuse and two counts of child neglect. The twins’ stepfather, Vernon Courtney Lovell, 53, faces two counts of child neglect. Police say he knew of the abuse and never reported it.
When police initially arrived at the home, the other children appeared to behave normally and food was available. Once they were taken out of the home, however, they all shared their stories of torment, leading to a full investigation.
We pray for these sweet kids.
SOURCE: The Tampa Bay Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty