A Florida couple has been taken into custody and charged with abuse for locking up three teens inside their bedroom and starving them.

St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office said in a press conference Tuesday the teens were starved to a point where they had to "secretly scavenge for scraps of food," CBS 12 reported

Investigators arrived at their home on Feb. 10, 2021, after receiving an anonymous tip that the children were abused and not given food.

"An anonymous complaint led investigators to the home and alleged that three of the five children there were severely malnourished and abused. Over the course of the investigation, our investigators began to unravel a story that breaks our heart and has led one of our victims to insurmountable medical and mental challenges that they may face for years to come," Chief Deputy Brian Hester said, CBS 12 reported. 

Investigation revealed the accused, identified as 40-year-old Oscar Torres and his 32-year-old wife Brittany Kirschenhofer, locked up the three teens -- one 17-year-old and two 16-year-old twins -- in their bedrooms and starved them. The three teenagers are Torres’ children.

"There was a chain lock on the door to the bedroom shared by the three victims. The three teenage victims weighed well below the accepted standard for their ages," Hester said, NBC-affiliated television station WPTV reported.

Investigators spoke to the teenagers and one of them said they were physically abused.

"Statements made by one of the victims indicated that some physical abuse did occur to at least one of the three victims," Hester said, adding the teen also said they had to "secretly scavenge for scraps of food."

One of the children was severely underweight and found to be hallucinating. The teen also suffered from loss of muscle control, verbal communication and other bodily functions.

"Their hip bones were protruding from the pelvic area and bones along the spine were pushing through the skin of their back with the beginning stages of an open sore. Medical evaluations all confirmed this condition was a direct result of malnutrition and required a feeding tube to try and gradually bring the child back to the appropriate level of nutrition for their age," Hester said.

The other two children found in the home were not abused and were treated "much, much differently than the other three children," he added.

The couple has been arrested and charged with three counts of child abuse and neglect. They are currently being held in jail without bond. It wasn't clear when they were arrested. 

The three teens are now in the care of their biological mother who wasn’t aware of the abuse. She was not in touch with the family for several years.

"The details of this case are disturbing and some of the most appalling examples of child neglect that I have heard in my 26 years in law enforcement," Hester said.

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