CARROLLTON, Ga. — Five people in the same family are charged with child abuse in Carroll County after police alleged they coordinated the abuse against their foster children.
The children are 12, 13, and 15 years old. One of the kids ran away from the home to report the abuse.
Some of the allegations may be disturbing to read.
Carroll County Communication Director Ashley Hulsey knows the children who were abused.
"I feel like everyone in their family has let them down," said Hulsey.
They were the victims of another abuse case she investigated with the sheriff's office a few years ago when their biological mother was arrested.
"If you met them, they are the most precious, sweet, even with everything they went through," she said.
The kids were in foster care with their uncle, his wife, and their three adult children, who live at the home in Carrollton. She said what they allegedly went through is horrific.
"They weren't able to eat. The victim who ran away that day said she had to eat out of the dog bowls because she was withheld food. They were locked in their rooms for period of time," she said.
Arrest warrants allege the children were under constant video surveillance in the home. They were allegedly not allowed to shower or bathe for weeks on end and were routinely denied food and water.
"There was one video when the male child was in his bedroom, the only thing that's in there is a bucket for him to go to the bathroom in. Where he was locked in the bedroom without blankets, cover, anything," she said.
One of the children told investigators he was forced to drink from that bucket because he was denied water for so long. When police started interviewing the family about what had happened, the warrants claim they admitted to disciplining the children.
"They didn't deny that they did these things. We did make them run around the yard with heavy backpacks," she said.
Allegations in the warrants say the children were made to run around the yard with heavy backpacks full of bricks and rocks. They had to stand with the arms straight over their head for an hour holding the packs.
The punishments allegedly went on for months before the five family members were arrested and the children removed.
"They are within custody with the state, they are separated, and that's heartbreaking that these kids are separated," she said.
Hulsey said she doesn't know what will happen with the court case, but she has hope for the children's future.
"I am just hoping and praying that they can make it through this and they can find a loving home to show them what a real loving family is who will take care of them," she said.
All five family members are now out on bond.