Two men and two women have been arrested in Texas on charges that they beat a 14-year-old cousin until she aborted a foetus resulting from a rape allegedly by another relative.
The young teen, who was eight months pregnant at the time, was attacked in the living room of a Dallas home she shared with "several adults who were upset with the girl's pregnancy," reports Dallas radio station WFAA.
Dallas Deputy Chief Gil Garza said the family members "took matters into their own hands" to abort the unborn child.
According to the arrest affidavit, the attack was motivated in part by the fears of suspect Cecila McDonald, who lived in the house, that authorities would take away her own four children because of the girl's rape. She was heard yelling at the teen during the attack: "You ain't about to get my kids taken away from me," said the affidavit.
The hours-long attack occurred in 2013, but the girl didn't report it until another woman, who said she witnessed part of the assault, took her to a police station last month, reports the Dallas Morning News.
The girl was first fed multiple birth control pills, the "morning-after" Plan B and cinnamon pills, which the attackers believed would cause a miscarriage, according to court documents filed in the case.
Victim was allegedly kicked and pummelled
When that didn't work McDonald "allegedly collaborated" with Sharon Jones, Cedric Jones and Lonnell McDonald to "physically assault the girl to terminate her pregnancy," said the court papers. While the others held her down one of the suspects sat on the girl's belly and began bouncing, said investigators. She was later kicked and pummelled in the stomach until she gave birth to an apparently stillborn baby, said the court documents.
The suspects attempted to burn the baby's body in a charcoal grill at the home. When that left a charred corpse, one of them returned two days later to place the body in a plastic drawstring bag and "stashed the remains in an unknown location," said the court filing.
The girl was seriously injured in the alleged attack, but survived. She wasn't taken to a hospital or doctor for medical care but was giving iron pills by her relatives for blood loss, said the court filing.
Bail for each of the beating suspects has been set at $150,000 (£100,000), and they remain in jail. All are charged with engaging in organised criminal activity. A fifth relative has been charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. Police are still searching for the remains of the stillborn baby.
The victim is currently in the custody of Child Protective Services, along with six other children taken from the home. Police praised her for coming forward. "We commend the victim for her bravery for coming forward to report this unbelievable crime," said Garza.