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Florida Couple Accused of Child Torture Held in Utah

2 hours, 29 minutes ago U.S. National - Reuters

MIAMI (Reuters) - A fugitive Florida couple accused of beating and chaining five children, pulling out their toenails with pliers and starving them, were caught in Utah, a sheriff's deputy said on Saturday.

Doctors alerted investigators two weeks ago when the couple's 16-year-old boy, who weighed just 60 pounds, was treated at a hospital for head and neck injuries.

The couple, John and Linda Dollar, cared for seven children aged 12 to 17 in their Citrus County home in west central Florida, investigators said.

The children were not the Dollars' biological children, nor were they foster children, but investigators would not discuss their relation for privacy reasons.

The Dollars were caught Friday evening in Utah, said a law enforcement officer at the San Juan County Sheriff's Office in that state. More information would be given at a news conference later, he said.

Florida's Department of Children and Families has taken custody of all the children, who said the Dollars beat and punished five of them for stealing food or messing up the house. They were forced to sleep in a closet.

Two children the siblings described as "the favorites," told investigators they were not abused. The others said the couple shocked them with an electric device, hit their feet with hammers, bound them with chains and pulled off their toenails with pliers.

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