PHOENIX (AP) — Police in suburban Phoenix have arrested a married couple on suspicion of child abuse, accusing them of severely malnourishing two adopted daughters and forcing them to sleep in a backyard tent either nude or only in a diaper.
According to Peoria police, the 13-year-old and 11-year-old girls also were subjected to strict punishment that included hour-long running sessions and memorization of Bible verses.
Johan Glenn Jorg (yorg) and Kimery Lynn Jorg appeared Thursday night before a judge who set bond at $100,000 apiece. The judge also ordered that neither be allowed to have contact with their adopted children or any minors.
Child Protective Services visiting the home May 30 called authorities after finding both girls emaciated. Officials said the 4-foot-11 13-year-old appeared to weigh only 60 pounds. Aside from being underfed, the teen had abnormal growths on her legs and blisters on her feet from excessive exercise. She also had "leathering" skin consistent with repeated beatings, according to a police statement filed in court.
The teen was immediately hospitalized for severe malnutrition. The 11-year-old girl underwent a medical exam.
Court records do not list attorneys for the Jorgs, and jail officials did not immediately respond Friday when asked whether the couple remained in custody. A woman who answered a phone listed in Johan Jorg's name hung up without commenting.
The couple is scheduled to appear in court June 12.
Officials with Child Protective Services said an 8-year-old girl and 7-year-old girl also were removed from the home. However, authorities said they appeared healthy and the couple favored them.
Police said all four girls lived in abusive environments before being adopted by the Jorgs. It was not clear how long all four had been living there. A spokeswoman for the state Department of Child Safety did not immediately return a message Friday seeking comment.
Kimery Jorg told police she wanted to expose the two older girls to prison-like conditions for lying or stealing. The 13- and 11-year-old were forced to use a bucket and brown bags as a toilet. They were given diapers to wear as a reward for good behavior, police said.
The 13-year-old had to sleep in a tent and also had her hair shaved as discipline, police said. The two girls were fed "prison food" of oatmeal, prunes or grits and salsa.
According to police, the couple thought their treatment was justified.
Punishments included getting swatted on the buttocks with a wooden paddle or having apple cider vinegar sprayed in their mouths, police said. The number of times was equivalent to their years of age.
The girls, who were home-schooled, also were forced to run outside in the heat for an hour and write and recite Bible verses. The running reportedly would go longer if any mistakes were found in the verses.
Neighbor Jodi Brackett said all four girls appeared fine in a Christmas card family portrait in December. But she realizes now she hardly ever saw the two older girls, while she frequently saw the two younger girls riding their bicycles.
"I kept forgetting they had two other girls," Brackett said.
Brackett described Kimery Jorg as cordial and said the Jorgs once offered neighbors leftover food from a wedding.
"She was very nice — no red flag or anything," Brackett said.