Couple accused of starving, choking children arrested

HOUSTON – Houston police say several children were starved and choked, and one of them was sexually assaulted over the course of the last year.

A 3-year-old boy was so emaciated when investigators found him, he was the size of a 6-month-old. A 4-year-old girl weighed what an average 1-year-old weighs.

Investigators arrested the mother, Vanessa Sada Torres, 25, on Monday. She was booked at the Harris County Jail. Torres is charged with two counts of injury to a child. In an overnight court appearance Monday, her bond was set at $30,000 for each charge.

Torres' common-law husband, Javier Torres, who was on the run, was arrested Tuesday morning. He is also charged with two counts of injury to a child.  

Residents at the Champion Court Apartments couldn't believe children could endure so much suffering just feet from their own doorsteps.

According to court documents, one child said Javier Torres molested her. When Javier Torres found out she told her mother, he choked her with a belt, according to reports.

The girl told investigators Javier Torres would never feed the children. She said her mother would feed the children only when Javier Torres was not in the house.

A social worker investigating another abuse claim saw the two children and ordered the mother to take them to the hospital.

Javier Torres, 28, and Vanessa Torres are each charged with multiple counts of injury to a child.

The couple's five children have been in foster care since late last year.

"They're thriving. They're able to run. There was a point that they couldn't walk they were just so weak. And now they're able to run which is a huge development," CPS spokesperson Tejal Patel said.

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