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MARDELA SPRINGS, MD — A couple have been arrested and accused of beating three children in their custody and forcing them to eat dog feces.

On Friday, someone tipped off police about the possible abuse of three children — ages 8, 9 and 10 — at the home of 29-year-old Amanda Wright and her live-in girlfriend 25-year-old Besline Joseph.

By that night, the three children were taken from the home and the couple was arrested.

According to investigators, the abuse began as early as May of last year and included the women beating the children with their hands, extension cords, belts, sticks, a stun gun and other objects.

The children were rarely let outside and mostly kept locked inside a closet or the basement of the home. Police say the children were mainly fed bread and water,  and the occasional dog turd.

“They were also starved, being fed a diet of only bread and water and some oatmeal from time to time again. Investigators learned they were forced to eat dog feces on occasion,” said Maj. Greg Shipley of Maryland State Police.

The children told the investigators that they were threatened with death if they ever told anyone about the abuse they were suffering.

Based on evidence found in the home that substantiated the abuse claims against the couple, they were both charged with three counts each of first- and second-degree child abuse, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, neglect of a minor, stalking, use of a dangerous weapon with intent to injure, false imprisonment and one count each of causing ingestion of a bodily fluid, preventing/interfering with report of suspected child abuse or neglect, and conspiracy to commit first-degree child abuse.

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Police are not revealing the relationship between the children and the women in order to protect the children’s identities. The children are currently in the care of Child Protective Services.

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