Abused kids seek help at liquor store

April 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Three children showed up at a nearby convenience store saying they'd been beaten, starved and locked-up by their own relatives. Those kids say the abuse happened at a home in San Pablo on 22nd Street near Broadway. The store they went to is just a few blocks away, on San Pablo Avenue.

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San Pablo Police say doctors examined the children and found evidence of long-term physical abuse all over their bodies. Their grandmother and aunt are now in jail each being held on $450,000 bail.

It was in the backyard of a home where San Pablo Police say three siblings spent most of their days. Investigators say a 13-year-old girl and her 11-year-old twin brothers have the injuries to show for it.

"They had injuries consistent with being forced to stand for hours upon hours outside. They were forced to bathe outside, and they were only fed once a week. They had to ask permission to use the bathroom and allegedly beaten for even asking," said Lt. Mark Foisie, from the San Pablo Police Department.

Their grandmother Faasese Fiu and their aunt Satu Diaz have been charged with multiple counts of child abuse. Police began investigating them after getting a call from a concerned citizen. A woman saw the children last Thursday in front of a liquor store dirty, shoeless, seemingly malnourished, blistered and bruised from head to toe. The sister even had dried blood on her.

"They're lying. Why would they do that to their grandmother and their auntie?" said another aunt who doesn't want to be identified.

She says this is all a misunderstanding. The children moved into the home two years ago after being sent from Samoa by their father. And she says ever since, the siblings have constantly fought, which is how they got bruised up.

"They box each other the way they are," said the aunt.
"So the grandmother or the aunt never hurt them?" asked ABC7 reporter Lilian Kim.
"No. They always told them, 'You all need to stop. Quit it.' We took care of them, yes my mom did. When they came here my mom took them shopping," said the aunt.

Police aren't buying it. The children are now in protective custody.

"How could somebody do that to their children? But we're in the business of dealing with these kinds of things; we are. And so we know we're going to see it again," said Lt. Foisie.

Four other grandchildren were living at the home. Police say those children showed no signs of abuse.

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