A Texas couple have been accused of abusing their two daughters using a shock collar, belts and thorny switch and forcing one of them eat cat faeces.
James Howard Chalkley, 32, and Cheyanne Chalkley, 22, were charged with injury to a child, the Bexar County Sheriff's Department said. Cheyanne faces two accounts, while James faces a separate charge of injury to a child stemming from a 6 October arrest, My San Antonio reported.
Authorities were alerted to the abuse on 19 September after their 5-year-old daughter's teacher noticed bruising on the girl's back, arrest affidavits reveal. According to BuzzFeed News, the girl initially told the school nurse that she did not know how she got injured, but later said she had fallen at the playground.
The girl and her 10-year-old sister told an investigator that their father spanked them when they misbehaved. The girls said that because they bruised easily, Child Protective Services wanted their father to get in trouble and "break up their family".
The two girls, and their 3-year-old brother, were then removed by CPS from the Chalkley's home. Investigators said the girls described the abuse they endured at the hands of their father and stepmother to officials and their foster parent.
The arrest affidavit said the girls claimed their father and stepmother would often beat and spank them with belts and switches.
The older girl said her father shoved her head into a wall as his wife used a thorny "switch" on her. She said James once held her head in the toilet and flushed it, doing the same to her sister.
The couple were said to "take turns" spanking the younger girl, she told officials. The 5-year-old child also claimed James used a shock collar on her arms, legs and back, leaving "green marks" on her skin.
James also reportedly smeared "wet diarrhoea" on the girls' faces after finding cat faeces in a closet and thinking they had intentionally refused to clean it, the affidavit said. He then made the 5-year-old girl eat it and ordered the girls to shower. The youngest girl said her father put "poop" on her toothbrush and forced her to use it.
The couple was taken into custody Monday (30 October) at the Bexar County Courthouse after a civil hearing regarding the removal of their three children, authorities said. They remain in custody at the Bexar County Adult Detention Centre.
Authorities said James and Cheyanne Chalkley were involved in two previous CPS cases. In September 2016, CPS found that James left his children unsupervised.
In January, James reportedly sprayed the children with cold water outside their home while they were naked. The affidavit says the temperature that day reached a low of 45F (7C). The case was closed and listed as "high risk".