RIALTO, Calif. (TCD) -- A couple was arrested after allegedly abusing and torturing five of their underage nieces and nephews over a four-year period.
According to a news release from the Rialto Police Department, on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, the Rialto Police Department was alerted about allegations of physical child abuse. Police say the victims were abused over a four-year period, from 2017 through 2021, while living with their aunt and uncle in the 1000 block of East Jackson Street.
The victims range in age from 11 to 17, KTLA-TV reports. Last year, the victims reportedly moved to Barstow to live with a different relative, and their new guardian reported the alleged abuse.
Detective Erica Duque from the Rialto Police Department conducted interviews with the victims, who said they endured physical abuse and torture. Their aunt, Jessica Salas-Ruiz, and their uncle, Fernando Inzunza, allegedly branded, strangled, and shot at the victims with a pellet gun. A medical examination was performed and revealed that the victims’ scarring was consistent with their account of abuse, police say.
Duque told KABC-TV, "Sometimes the children during punishment were made to kneel on rice for long periods of time or made to kneel outside on the hot concrete on small pieces of gravel."
According to police, on Wednesday, May 25, Salas-Ruiz and Inzunza were arrested and booked into the West Valley Detention Center for multiple counts of corporal punishment of a child. Additionally, Inzunza was reportedly charged with torture. Their bail amounts were set at $750,000.