SAN JUAN COUNTY, N.M. (KTLA/AP) -- A woman beat and tortured at least some of her 15 children and forced them to watch as she brutally killed their pets, authorities said in New Mexico, the latest place where the woman and her husband have been the subject of complaints.
Martha Crouch and her husband Timothy Crouch of Aztec, New Mexico, were arrested Monday following interviews with a number of their adult and young children living in different states, according to court records. It was not immediately clear if all the allegations made by the children had been verified by authorities.
State officials say documents also point to prior complaints involving the couple in Missouri, Alaska, Kansas and Montana.
Martha Crouch, 53, was charged with child abuse and extreme cruelty to animals. Timothy Crouch, 57, is facing an obstruction charge. The couple has yet to be assigned public defenders. They are due in court Wednesday.
One teen daughter told authorities of physical and emotional abuse that had gotten so bad that two of her older siblings took her from New Mexico to Arizona to keep her safe, according to court documents. The teen said after one of their dogs had puppies, the mother “took the puppies and put them into a giant pot and boiled them, making all the kids watch,” the documents said.
The girl told investigators the mother also fed a kitten poison.
She said she was hit by her mother with a plastic cooking spatula for questioning why she wasn’t allowed to go to school. Another, whose age also wasn’t disclosed, said she got pregnant at 14 and her mother beat her until she had a miscarriage.
Another daughter told authorities she was kept in a “fat chain” for three years while the family lived in Alaska because her mother thought she was overweight.
A son told detectives he was “beaten, shot, stabbed and run over by his parents” and “had BBs still inside his arm from when the mother shot him with a shotgun.”
Court records also show that county authorities’ initial investigation into an assault by an adult son at the family’s home on May 30 came after several brothers said they had been arguing over food.
Authorities also reported finding the body of a dog buried in the backyard that was shot as a punishment to the children.