LONGVIEW, Wash. -- The trial of a couple accused of mistreating and starving five adopted children entered its second day Tuesday as an adopted daughter testified she was spanked, starved and had her mouth taped.
Jeff and Rebecca Trebilcock are charged with criminal mistreatment involving their adopted kids. Five came into their Longview home between 2002 and 2008. Their own children were reportedly well cared-for.
Those adopted children were put in protective custody in March of 2011.
On Tuesday, a dietician from OHSU described a 13-year- old boy, one of the Trebilcocks‘ adopted children, as emaciated and weighing just under 50 pounds, the average weight of a six-year-old.
An adopted daughter testified about the treatment she faced in the Trebilcock home: “They spanked us and put tape on our mouths.”
When asked about when the children’s mouths were taped, she said: “If we were crying.”
Another adopted girl said she ate toothpaste to quell hunger.
The Trebilcocks’ attorneys have characterized the couple as good parents who fed the children as much as they wanted -- that their low weights were caused by a flu, and by fetal alcohol syndrome.
But testimony from the children and from doctors disputes that claim.
When the parents were first arrested, the children said a motion detector had been set up in the kitchen to catch them if they tried to get food. They were beaten with a board if caught and resorted to eating dog and goat food and dandelion leaves.
One 13-year-old boy was 4 foot 4 and 49 pounds. He was treated at Doernbecher for broken ribs, malnutrition and hypothermia.
Neighbors defended the couple, saying they were good parents and that the girls adopted from Haiti were better off with the couple than in their previous home.
KGW Reporter Tim Gordon contributed to this report.