Hesperia Couple on Food Stamps Accused of Starving, Torturing 3 Young Kids: Sheriff’s Dept.

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An investigation was underway into two Hesperia residents who were arrested after allegedly torturing and starving three young children, authorities said.

Erik Flores, the 30-year-old father of the kids, and his 22-year-old girlfriend, Mariah Sugg, were arrested back in June on suspicion of torture and willful injury to a child, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department announced Tuesday.

The department was initially contacted on June 6 regarding three malnourished children, ages 4, 6 and 7, who were brought to Loma Linda University Medical Center after Flores was served with a detention warrant.

Two of the kids – the 4 and 6-year-old — were “extremely emaciated and malnourished,” a release from the Sheriff’s Department stated.

The 7-year-old had been provided with school meals, but told police how his siblings had been treated and disclosed that he had also been neglected, according to authorities.

The younger two children were admitted to the hospital while the older one was placed into foster care after being examined.

According to investigators, the 4-year-old victim was close to death and showed signs of having been sexually molested, the release stated.

Since being removed from the care of Flores and Sugg however, the younger children have both gained more than ten pounds.

The children’s father and his girlfriend were interviewed by detectives, who concluded the victims “endured torture and willful injuries related to malnourishment, sexual abuse, and failure to thrive” while in the couple’s care, according to the department.

Flores and Sugg received food stamps, but deprived the kids of food and put them through extreme workout sessions as punishment, authorities stated in the release.

They were arrested and booked into High Desert Detention Center. Their bail was set at $500,000.

An investigation into Flores and Sugg continued, and anyone with information about the case was urged to call San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Detective David Clifford at 909-387-3615.