A Utah couple has been arrested for abusing their foster children, who were allegedly found tied up and locked in a dark room where they were denied water, officials said.
Cops discovered three boys between the ages of 7 and 11 zip-tied to beds at the home of Diane Waldmiller, 41, and Matthew Waldmiller, 40, on Thursday, according to reports.
The officers were responding to a child neglect complaint made through the Division of Child and Family Services, police told the Deseret News.
For 10 to 13 hours at a time, the couple would allegedly lock the children in their room, which had no light bulb and had its windows painted black, the Deseret News reported.
The boys weren’t allowed water and had their mouths and hands duct-taped shut. In addition, their beds had no sheets or blankets, authorities said.
The children were also forced to wear diapers and as a form of punishment, and were made to eat rice doused with salt and cayenne pepper, cops said.
At one point, the boys managed to escape the room to go dumpster diving for food, but their foster parents caught them and punished them by screwing the windows shut, officials said.
A nurse practitioner reportedly said the children were underweight.
"This was not reckless. It was not negligent," Roy Police Sgt. Matt Gwynn told the Deseret News. "This was intentional."
Diane and Matthew Waldmiller were taken into police custody Sunday on felony abuse charges, authorities said.
They were being held in the Weber County Jail on $31,500 bond each.
Three other boys and a young girl who were found at the home were taken into protective custody.
They were reportedly living in separate rooms from the alleged victims and appeared to be in good condition.
The Waldmillers have been continuously licensed as foster care providers since August 2013, the Deseret News reported.
Records show the couple was in good standing with no agency actions against them.