A Vancouver couple are accused of locking their adopted twins in a bedroom and only feeding them once a day — and then hitting them with a board if they try to “steal” food, police said.
Police said the two 16-year-olds are very emaciated; the parents keep food from them because they think they eat too much, according to court documents.
Jeffrey W. Weller, 42, and Sandra D. Weller, 48, are charged with five counts of second-degree assault and two counts of unlawful imprisonment. The twins, who were home schooled, were placed in protective custody.
They will be arraigned Oct. 27.
The Wellers were arrested last Wednesday following a tip from Child Protective Services. Police responded to the home at 14118 N.E. 17th Circle and interviewed the twins, a boy and girl.
The twins, who were adopted by the Wellers at age 2, told police that “for as long as they can recall, food in the home has been under lock and key and they are fed very small amounts of food an average of once a day,” according to a probable cause affidavit filed with the court.
The two said they constantly have to “steal” food and are punished when they are caught. According to court documents, they were allegedly made to lay on the kitchen floor without pants or underwear on and were struck repeatedly with a wooden board by Jeffrey Weller. Sandra Weller was also present, the twins told police.
The assaults occur at least once a week and have been ongoing for several years, police said.
The Wellers’ allegedly also removed the interior door knob of the twins’ bedroom and installed an alarm that triggers if they try to leave the room. The bedroom window also has a lock, according to court documents.
Police said the bedroom has no electricity, as the Wellers have removed all fuses to outlets. There is also no clock or other appliances.
The twins are also restricted from interacting with the rest of the family, meaning they cannot sit with them, touch them or use the same eating utensils, police said in court documents.
“Within the last 30 days, (one of the twins) stole some food and the ‘good utensils’ and took these items to his bedroom for him and his sister to eat,” the probable cause affidavit said. “This was discovered by Jeff Weller, who then assaulted (the female twin) by hitting her with the stick approximately 20 times.”
Police allege Jeff Weller also choked the female twin until Sandra Weller told him to stop.
Officers searching the home found bicycle locks wrapped around the refrigerator and the handles of pantry doors. They also found a small hole created in the twins’ bedroom door, which was used to pass food through from the couple’s other children, according to court documents.
Officers also recovered the board, which had dried blood on it.
Vancouver couple accused of imprisoning, beating and starving twins | The Columbian