Couple charged with imprisoning children

Date: 2011-10-19

VANCOUVER, Wash., Oct. 19 (UPI) -- A Vancouver, Wash., couple allegedly locked their two adopted teens in a bedroom, fed them once a day and beat them if they tried to take food, police said.

Jeffrey W. Weller, 42, and Sandra D. Weller, 48, have been charged with five counts of second-degree assault and two counts of unlawful imprisonment, The Columbian of Vancouver reported Tuesday.

Police said the two 16-year-olds, both emaciated, were placed in protective custody.

The parents withheld food from the children because they thought they ate too much, court documents state.

The twins, who were adopted at age 2 in California and home-schooled, told police "for as long as they can recall, food in the home has been under lock and key, and they are fed very small amounts of food an average of once a day," an affidavit stated.

The children said they had to "steal" food and when caught, had to lie on the kitchen floor with no pants or underwear and were struck repeatedly with a wooden board by Jeffrey Weller while Sandra Weller was present.

Police said the beatings happened at least weekly and had been going on for several years.

The couple allegedly removed the interior door knob of the twins' bedroom about seven months ago and installed an alarm that went off if the children tried to leave the bedroom. Police said the bedroom had no electricity because the Wellers removed all fuses to outlets.

Police found bicycle locks on the refrigerator and handles of pantry doors.

The Wellers, who were arrested last Wednesday, are to be arraigned Oct. 27.


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