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Adults accused of torturing and starving three children locked in the attic



Three adults have been arrested for child abuse after three children under the age of 12 were allegedly locked in an attic for several years while being beaten with bats, starved and even tortured with a cat.

Two boys, ages 11 and 12, and a nine-year-old girl were rescued by police last month after the oldest child managed to escape the home in Minersville, Pennsylvania, where they were being held.

The children’s father, Todd Richter, 32; his fiancée Jennifer Yost, 27; and her mother, Wendy Yost, 51, have since been charged with child abuse.

Police told WFMZ that the horrific allegations against the three adults are unlike anything they have seen before, and only came to light after the 1

2-year-old boy escaped and warned a stranger at a nearby school who called 911.

Todd Richter

Jennifer Yost

Todd Richter, 32, and his fiancée Jennifer Yost, 27, are both charged with child abuse after allegedly abusing Richter’s three children ages 9 to 12 at their home in Minersville, Pennsylvania.

The boy had told the stranger that his brother and sister were being kept inside the home.

Police found the boy’s two emaciated siblings covered in cuts and bruises inside the home.

Yost's mother, Wendy Yost, 51, has also been charged with child abuse

Yost’s mother, Wendy Yost, 51, has also been charged with child abuse

Authorities said a week-long investigation had determined the adults had kept the children locked in the attic for at least two years and deprived them of food and water.

The children were beaten regularly with bats, clubs, wine bottles and belts, police said.

They were also pushed down the stairs and kept under water in the bathtub.

The adults are also accused of having used the family cat to torture them by agitating the animal and then placing it on the children’s stomachs so that it scratches and scratches them.

The children also told police that they often got moldy leftovers to eat and that they would fill an old peanut butter jar with rainwater from a drain outside the window so they could drink something.

When police eventually looted the home, they reported a strong urine odor coming from the ceiling, where the children said they were being held.

They found containers filled with urine and liquid feces inside the attic.

Authorities said a week-long investigation had determined the adults had kept the children locked in the attic of the home (pictured above) for at least two years and deprived them of food and water

Authorities said a week-long investigation had determined the adults had kept the children locked in the attic of the home (pictured above) for at least two years and deprived them of food and water

Richter, his fiancée and her mother have all been charged with endangering children's welfare, aggravated assault, harassment and a number of other charges.  They have all been denied bail (over leaving the court) and are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday

Richter, his fiancée and her mother have all been charged with endangering children’s welfare, aggravated assault, harassment and a number of other charges. They have all been denied bail (over leaving the court) and are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday

A bed frame was allegedly squeezed against the attic door.

Police said a fourth child, a three-year-old girl, also lived at home, but she showed no signs of being malnourished or abused.

This girl is believed to have lived in a separate bedroom away from the other three children.

Minersville Police Chief Michael Combs said the case of the three children will haunt him.

‘We have certainly had cases of child abuse, sexual exploitation of children and the like, but that these children have endured this many years of treatment of this kind of treatment is more than anything I have seen,’ Combs said.

“The only plus of it is that the children are now safe and receiving treatment and are not being put back in that environment.”

All four children are placed in protective custody.

Richter, his fiancée and her mother have all been charged with endangering children’s welfare, aggravated assault, harassment and a number of other charges.

They are all denied bail and are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.


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