PHOENIX – The parents of a 14-year-old Arizona girl who was victim to shocking abuse have been arrested, KSAZ-TV reported late Tuesday.
A young girl who escaped from her appalling living conditions says her father and stepmother kept her locked in a room with no running water for about two months.
It was apparently part of a punishment for stealing food.
While she was in "lock-up," the girl says her father gave her a few cans of food, crackers and bread every one or two days -- but it wasn't ever enough to satisfy her hunger.
The girl told police that while she was in lock up, she was forced to exercise until exhaustion, beaten with belts and metal rods, and pulled up by her hair if she stopped exercising.
The horror came to an end on January 24, when she escaped by crawling up a linen closet, climbing into an attic crawl space, kicking out a loose board and fleeing out the back door.
Someone called police for her and police were dispatched to the victim's residence to speak with her father, Scott Bass, and stepmother Andrea Bass.
The father, unaware that she was gone, allowed officers and Child Protective Services into the home. There, officers found a bathroom locked from the outside.
When officers opened the door, police say Bass was visibly surprised to see it empty. Inside the room was a 5-gallon bucket with about 4 inches of urine, a blanket on the tile floor, and empty cans of food, documents allege.
During questioning at the scene, Bass admitted to locking his daughter in the bathroom as discipline for stealing food and cheating in home school.
Further investigation found that the 14-year-old girl had been forced to live and sleep outside on the patio during the summer, locked in a closet for a week with no light, and locked in a bathroom for a week. Police say that Andrea Bass acknowledged these facts, also saying, she no longer wanted to have anything to do with [the victim].
Medical evaluation found that the girl was in the 25th percentile for weight and in the 50th percentile for height, compared to other girls her age.
Scott and Andrea Bass were arrested on Feb. 4 on the following charges: unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, failure to report neglect of a minor, and child abuse.