By BRANDI PROCTOR, WBFF
MARDELA SPRINGS, Md. (WBFF) - Maryland State Police have arrested two women, charging them with multiple counts of child abuse in Wicomico County. Investigators say the children were beaten, confined and forced to eat dog feces.
The women charged are identified as Amanda R. Wright, 29, and Besline Joseph, 25, both of the 14000 block of Norris Twilley Road in Mardela Springs. Both are charged with three counts each of first-degree child abuse, second-degree child abuse, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, neglect of a minor, stalking, use of a dangerous weapon with intent to injure, false imprisonment, and one count each of causing ingestion of a bodily fluid, preventing/interfering with report of suspected child abuse or neglect, and conspiracy to commit first-degree child abuse.
The suspects were arrested Wednesday morning at their home. They have been taken to the Wicomico County Detention Center for processing and their initial appearance before a court commissioner.
On Jan. 26, information was received at the Maryland State Police Salisbury Barrack regarding allegations of child abuse involving the suspects. An investigation was immediately initiated by the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division, in cooperation with Child Protective Services personnel assigned to the Wicomico Child Advocacy Center. Based on the allegations, Child Protective Services officials removed the three children from the home the night the investigation began.
Investigators determined the three victims, ages 8, 9 and 10, resided with Wright and her live-in girlfriend, Joseph. The investigation has revealed that since late spring or early summer 2017, the three children endured physical beatings on multiple occasions from both suspects. State police say the beatings are believed to have been inflicted with hands, extension cords, belts, sticks and other objects. The children sustained bloody noses, bruises and cuts. The investigation also revealed the suspects assaulted the children multiple times with an electronic control device.
The investigation revealed that the children were reportedly locked in closets and a basement. They say there was limited time when they were not confined. They were reportedly fed a diet of bread, water, oatmeal and, at times, were forced to eat dog feces. The children were said to have been threatened with death if they told anyone about the abuse.
During the search warrant service, investigators obtained an electronic control device. They also found other evidence that supported information developed during the investigation.
The investigation is ongoing.