Twin girls were rescued from a home in Washington state where their abusive mother kept them locked up and brutally underfed. The girls were found to be weighing only 40 pounds each – at least 20 to 30 pounds under the average healthy weight of an 8-year-old female.
Writes the Washington Times-Picayune on Feb. 25: “The mother, Kai Martinez, 28, was arrested earlier this month and remains in the Yakima County jail. She’s charged with multiple counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and second-degree assault of a child. Court papers say the girls told police they’d been abused, starved and locked in a bedroom before cousins rescued them Feb. 6.”
News reports indicated that the girls have endured horrific abuse. The mother, identified as 28-year-old Kai Martinez, would disciple her children with a form of waterboarding by placing their covered heads under the faucet and trying to “drown” them with running water, reports KIMAtv.com.
According to the arrest affidavit, both twins spoke openly of the abuse of the other that they witnessed over the past two years. One of the girls said her mom beat her with a frozen chicken, leaving a scar on her face that is still visible. The affidavit said the girls’ arms were “no wider than an inch” and that the twins “both advised that the food they were currently eating was the first meal they had eaten in quite a while.”
From their birth up until 2013, the twins were in a foster care system. In December of 2013, the state awarded them back to Martinez, though that decision will likely be reversed after they were found beaten, bruised and half-starved.
“It would appear they were held in the house, so to speak, and not too many people knew that they were there,” said Detective Chad Janis from the Yakima Police Department Special Assault Unit. “It was still very obvious that they were malnourished. They were in a state where you could see their bones through their skin.”
The girls were found by family members, who called police on Martinez. The twins were taken to a Seattle hospital while Martinez was placed under arrest under multiple charges of assault and criminal mistreatment. Martinez has a long history of charges, stemming from drug busts, assaulting a police officer and stealing a car.
Det. Janis expressed shock that the girls were returned to Martinez, who also has an older boy and an infant living with her. “It’s always surprising when children are placed back in a home where they are later victimized,” Janis said. The other two children did not show signs of neglect, though Child Protection Services are investigating.
According to KIMAtv, court records indicate the mother “advised she did not have a ‘bond’ with the girls and didn’t feel a ‘connection’ with them.” Martinez is due back in court next month. Her rescued twin girls were placed with a relative.