A 14-year-old girl in Carnation, Wash., was taken from her parents after they allegedly restricted her food and water intake and she became severely malnourished, KIRO TV reported Tuesday.
The teenager weighed 48 pounds, as much as a 7- or 8-year-old, said Dan Donohoe of the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
The girl's father, Jon Pomeroy, 43, and stepmother, Rebecca Long, 44, were charged with one count of first-degree criminal mistreatment and one count of second-degree criminal mistreatment, Donohoe said. If convicted, they could face up to four years in prison.
Pomeroy had restricted the girl's food and water, and she was severely malnourished when a deputy came to check on her in August, the sheriff’s office said.
The 4-foot-7 girl was described as “extremely skinny and pale.” Her name was not released.
The girl and her 12-year-old brother were removed from the home, and the girl was admitted to the Children’s Medical Center for two weeks.
Dentists had to remove six of the girl's teeth because of long-term decay, court papers said.
Deputies said the girl’s stepmother gave her only one-half of a “small Dixie cup of water” per day and even monitored her showers to limit her water intake.
“The little girl told us during the winter, condensation would form on the inside of the window glass and run down and she had a straw and would go along and suck up the moisture to try and get some sort of fluids into her,” John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff’s Office told KIRO.com.
The boy's height and weight were normal, authorities said.
In a court affidavit, a detective said the father told him the conflict between his daughter and wife "was concerning but he thought they could just handle it themselves." Pomeroy admitted he never sought professional help for the girl even though he noticed she looked far younger than 14.
Even the family's two dogs were fed normally and had recently been taken to the vet, authorities said.
Child Protective Services had investigated the family in 2005, and the stepmother received counseling.
"There were similar issues with the girl's weight. Obviously it was not as extreme," CPS spokesman Thomas Shapley told The Seattle Times.
The two children are now in foster care, and the girl has gained 20 pounds in six weeks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.