A 50-year-old Palmdale woman is facing eight felonies, including charges of torture, for allegedly abusing two children she adopted two year ago, according to Los Angeles County sheriffs.
Authorities said Ingrid Brewer locked up the brother and sister pair, ages 7 and 8 respectively, for hours on end in separate rooms, forcing the children to go to the bathroom in waste baskets while she was away at work.
"They had been struck and hit with electrical cords, the young boy disclosed being hit with a hammer," said Sgt. Brian Hudson of the L.A. County Sheriff's office. "A lot of this discipline took place when the children had their hands restrained behind their backs with zip ties.
The alleged abuse has been taking place over the last five or six months on the 39 thousand block of Clear View Court in Palmdale, according to sheriffs.
"The brother was the one that managed to get himself out of his bedroom," Sgt. Hudson said. "He managed to get his sister out of her bedroom and told her, ‘It's time to go, we've got to get out of this house.'"
A neighbor who lived across the street from Brewer described her as being very aloof and a loner in a neighborhood where numerous young children live and play.
"All of our children would play out there," said Cynthia Otero, who has three children who are about the same age as the two who were allegedly abused. "And she would come out and stood out on the sidewalk like she was about yell at them. She seemed to be very bothered by it like she didn't like it."
Police say Brewer actually reported the children missing on January 15 at around 10 p.m. after she had gotten home from work.
Authorities say they found the pair huddled and shivering underneath a car a couple blocks away at about 2 a.m.
"The temperatures at that time of night were in the mid-20's and all the children had to keep themselves warm was a blanket," Sgt. Hudson said. "The children told deputies that they had run away from the house because they were tired of being abused."
"When I was told they had run away and the way that they were found…" Otero said, nearly in tears. "I just wish I could have done something."
Otero, who runs a day care center out of her home was shaken by the incident.
"My children asked, ‘Mommy, why did she do that to them?'" Otero said. " I had to explain to them that there are good people and evil people. My daughter, her eyes were watery and she said, ‘Mommy, that is not right.'"
Sheriffs said Brewer, who was arrested January 16, faces two counts each of torture, assault with a deadly weapon, cruelty to a child and felony battery. The torture charges alone could result in life imprisonment. The judge set the bail amount at $2 million.
Brewer has pleaded not guilty to all charges.