PHOENIX – A 12-year-old girl was beaten with an electrical cord, and her parents left her dead body on the floor of her bedroom for days before they called 911, according to court documents released Tuesday.
Police arrested the girl's father, 34-year-old Jeffrey Duchane Jr., and stepmother, 25-year-old Reiko Troupe, after officers were called to the house on Saturday. Troupe was jailed on suspicion of first-degree murder and child abuse. Duchane was jailed on suspicion of child abuse.
Both were scheduled to appear in Maricopa County Superior Court on Nov. 19. The Associated Press asked the county Sheriff's Office to interview Duchane and Troupe, but those requests went unanswered Tuesday.
According to court documents, Troupe told police that she didn't harm the girls and blamed Duchane for disciplining the children.
Police spokesman Sgt. Andy Hill said the case is "shocking to the conscience, and offended all of us." Police were investigating whether more criminal charges should be filed against Duchane and Troupe.
Court documents say that Duchane went to work while his daughter lay dead in the bedroom. They said he didn't call authorities until the girl's body started to smell.
The documents say Duchane first told police that he found his daughter on the bedroom floor unconscious, but alive. He poured water into his daughter's mouth, but she didn't respond. Duchane added that Troupe told him the girl slipped in the bathroom and bumped her head.
When officers asked why he did not get medical help for his daughter, Duchane said he thought she would be OK.
Police also found the girl's 9-year-old sister in the apartment when they arrived. Officers said the sister was "cowering in the shower with several bruises, burns and a broken arm," according to court documents.
The 9-year-old gave police a different account as to how her big sister died.
She told police that she saw Troupe make her sister go into the tub. She said Troupe poured hot water on her sister as punishment for not cleaning her room.
The 9-year-old said she heard her sister scream and get out of the tub. She saw her step-mom whip her sister with an extension cord. Troupe then pushed the 12-year-old against the wall and punched her stepdaughter in the face until she passed out.
Afterward, the 9-year-old said she put her hand on her sister's heart and did not feel anything, according to court documents.
The girl also said Troupe previously beat her and her sister.