HESPERIA – A man and his girlfriend were arrested Wednesday on charges of torturing and committing willful injuries to three children in an investigation that began on June 6.
Erik Flores, 30, of Hesperia, and Mariah Sugg, 22, were arrested by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department deputies when forensic pediatricians provided evidence that three children, ages 7, 6 and 4, were malnourished and extremely emaciated, according to reports.
It was the 7-year-old, who provided witness testimony as to the treatment his younger siblings received at home, along with disclosing neglect to himself.
The 7-year-old, said reports, was provided meals at school and was considered well nourished. But his testimony provided authorities with enough probable cause to lead the Department of Children and Family Services to take the children to Loma Linda University Medical Center for treatment nearly three months ago.
The county sheriff’s unit Crimes Against Children was called upon to provide further investigation.
A detention warrant was presented on the childrens’ father, Flores. The older two children are male and the 4-year-old is a female.
While the 7-year-old was placed into foster care after examination, the 4-year-old female was close to death, according to medical records, “suffering an extreme case of failure to thrive, as well as signs of sexual molestation.”
The special detail interviewed both Flores and Sugg, concluding that the victims endured torture and willful injures related to malnourishment, sexual abuse and other crimes while under their care.
Reports stated that both males had gained in excess of 10 pounds over a two-month span after being removed from the care of their father and his girlfriend..
Both Flores and Sugg, who were booked into the High Desert Detention Center and held on a $500,000 bail, were receiving food stamps and had the ability to properly feed and nourish the children, said investigators who added, “they used the deprivation of food and extreme physical workout sessions as a form of punishment.”
Victor Valley News Group: Hisperia couple arrested for torturing three chiuldren