Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jeffrey and Rebecca Trebilcock, face charges of starving adopted children so badly that 13-year-old boy weighed 49lb - 24th May 2011

A couple in rural Washington face charges of criminal mistreatment and assault after allegedly starving their five adopted children to near-fatal levels.

Jeffrey and Rebecca Trebilcock, both 44, were arrested after a two-month investigation found their adopted children neglected and malnourished, including a 13-year-old boy who was 4ft 4in and weighed just 49lb.

A doctor examining the boy in 2008 said he had weight and height levels of a six-year-old, and that he suffered severe malnutrition, hypothermia, a slow heart rate, wasting muscles - and four broken ribs in various stages of repair.

He is being treated at Doernbecher's Children's Hospital, and has been diagnosed with psychosocial dwarfism - a severe growth impairment as a response to severe environment stress.

A doctor estimates the boy will be '10 inches shorter than he would have been'.

Meanwhile the Trebilcock's themselves, especially Jeffrey, were described as overweight in court documents, and their four biological children also showed signs of being fed properly.

Ironically, the father's job included delivering meals to schoolchildren in the area, as part of his job as a warehouse driver at the Longview School District.

The adopted children told investigators that the couple wired their kitchen so that an alarm sounded if someone tried to 'steal' food.

Punishments for doing so allegedly ranged from being doused with water and made to stand outside, to being beaten with a wooden board.

Chief Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig, of the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office, said the couple's adopted son recounted a story about one beating that ended with him feeling blood running down the back of his leg.

To avoid punishment, the children resorted to stealing dog food and goat food from the family pets, and eating the leaves of plants.

Now that they were in protective custody, the boy had gained 25lb and had also grown taller. The rest of the adopted children, all girls between the ages of 10 and 13 (one of the girls' age has not been released), had also gained weight. Read More