A couple in California, USA, have been arrested on charges of severely neglecting their three children.
Police, who said it was one of the worst cases of neglect they have seen, found the children showing severe signs of starvation and physical abuse at the squalid house.
The children – two boys, aged three and five, along with an eight-year-old girl – were discovered starving in their Salinas, California, home on March 14.
Authorities announced the arrests of a 31-year-old woman and a 44-year-old woman on Friday, a week after the couple’s children were found.
Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller said the couple were arrested at the scene, although charges were not announced until later to allow for further investigation.
The girl in particular was said to have been skeletal thin.
Police revealed that large chains with a collar were found hanging from a wall in the house.
These chains were wrapped around the girl’s neck or leg to prevent her reaching food.
Miller told reporters: “She was extremely emaciated.
“She’s been described as someone who looks like someone who had been in a concentration camp.”
Although the girl appeared to have been the main target Miller said that all three children exhibited signs of starvation, physical and emotional abuse.
The girl was immediately admitted to hospital for treatment.
The girl and the oldest boy were adopted by the couple while the younger boy is the biological son of one of the women.
All three children have been taken into protective custody.
Sheriff Scott Miller said: “(This is) one of those cases that sticks with you for some time.
“When you’ve got over 30 years in the business, you’ve seen way too many of these types of things before… but this is, in terms of child abuse and neglect, this is toward the top.”