Carnation couple plead not guilty in 14-year-old girl's starving
The father and stepmother of a 14-year-old Carnation girl who authorities said was deprived of food and water pleaded not guilty to criminal mistreatment Monday in King County Superior Court.
Seattle Times staff reporter
A Carnation couple accused of starving their 14-year-old daughter tightly clutched hands Monday when they appeared in a Seattle courtroom.
Jon Pomeroy, 43, and his wife, Rebecca Long, 44, each pleaded not guilty to criminal-mistreatment charges and then ducked down a back stairwell at the King County Courthouse. The Carnation couple were charged earlier this month with isolating and starving the 14-year-old girl.
The girl, who was 4-foot-7 and weighed just 48 pounds when authorities found her in August, suffered dehydration so severe that all of her teeth were rotting, court documents state. It was the worst case of abuse the veteran King County sheriff's detective assigned to the case said he had ever seen.
King County sheriff's deputies discovered the malnourished girl on Aug. 13, after they were called to the home to check on the 14-year-old girl on the request of Child Protective Services (CPS).
Court documents say Long systematically deprived her stepdaughter of sustenance. Investigators say the girl told them that Long permitted her half a Dixie cup of water a day and supervised the girl's showers and toothbrushing so she could not sneak a drink.
Once the girl said she was caught drinking from the toilet, because her thirst was so bad.
The girl told a detective that her father was "aware of the water restrictions but chooses not to interfere," according to court documents.
According to a search-warrant affidavit filed in King County District Court, Long told a sheriff's deputy that the girl "was a behavior problem and was impulsive and oppositional." She added that the girl "hates her because she is a mother figure to her," the warrant paperwork said.
On Monday, the couple were ordered by Superior Court Judge Cheryl Carey to avoid contact with minors, including their son and daughter. The children are living together in a foster home, said Robert Nelson, spokesman for the state Children's Administration.
Also on Monday, the Children's Administration announced that it has completed an investigation into the case. Abuse complaints against both the parents were founded, said Nelson.
The couple and their attorney declined to comment after the hearing.
If convicted, Pomeroy and Long each face a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison. The couple were released from the King County Jail earlier this month after each posted a $20,000 bond.
Seattle Times staff reporter Maureen O'Hagan contributed to this report.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or email@example.com
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