By Jim Forsyth
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The mother of two children, aged 2 and 3, who were found chained in the backyard of a neighbor's home in San Antonio last week was charged with child abuse on Friday after investigators said they believed she severely beat her children.
Cheryl Reed, 30, is being held on two charges of injury to a child, Bexar County Sheriff's Office spokesman James Keith said. She is accused of beating the two toddlers for most of their lives. Reed was not available for comment.
"We have confirmed with medical doctors that these children suffered hundreds of injuries, and hundreds is not an exaggeration," Keith said. "They had multiple scars, multiple bruises. Many of them were fresh, and others were old."
Reed came to San Antonio a few days ago after deputies tracked her down in California.
Last week, Porucha Phillips, 34, the woman in whose yard the toddlers were found, was charged with child abuse. Investigators responding to calls about the crying toddlers also found six of Phillips' children inside the home unattended by any adult.
When deputies arrived at the home last week, they found the 2-year-old boy chained to the ground "like you would an animal," Keith said, and a little girl tied to a door with a dog leash.
Phillips has not spoken about the charges.
On Friday, Deandre Dorch, 36, and the father of some of the six unattended children found inside the house, was also charged with child abuse, the sheriff's office said.
The two toddlers found tied up have been with Phillips and Dorch since February but deputies were unsure of how they came into custody of the children.
"Dorch may have threatened those children and their mother after she left the state," Keith said. "Right now it looks like Dorch and Phillips wanted money from her."
Dorch, who is not in custody, is accused of injury to a child by omission, for not reporting abuse he witnessed that included Reed whipping her children with a switch from a tree, police said. He has not spoken about the charges.
An arrest affidavit says Dorch told investigators it was not his place to report child abuse, because "he is not a snitch and he's not God."
Phillips, pregnant with her seventh child, is in the Bexar County jail.
(Reporting by Jim Forsyth; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Frances Kerry)