A South Carolina woman and her live-in boyfriend were arrested for allegedly torturing their two young children with hot sauce and peppers, police said.
Robert Earl Kailiala Saladaga, 37, and Sabrina Irene Emerick, 25, are accused of tormenting Emerick’s two sons, who are just 5 and 7 years old, in instances of abuse dating back to at least September 2017, the Greenville Police Department said.
In one incident, Saladaga allegedly held a pillow over the face one of the children, who was 5 at the time, until the boy was unable to breathe, authorities said.
Saladaga is accused of rubbing a hot pepper on one of the boys' genitals as punishment for him having an accident while sleeping on a couch as well as rubbing hot sauce over the child’s face, eyes and mouth until he vomited, cops said.
He also allegedly hit the boy, made him take hot and cold showers, and shot him in the foot with a BB gun, officials said.
Investigators said they were able to determine that Emerick was aware of the alleged ongoing abuse and “allowed her children to be placed at unreasonable risk of harm affecting the children’s life and safety at the hands of Saladaga,” the Greenville Police Department said in a statement.
The pair was charged with unlawful neglect of a child and two counts of cruelty to children. Saladaga faces an additional charge of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.
“Heinous crimes against children are some of the most difficult cases we investigate,” Lt. Jason Rampey said. “The horrific stories of abuse endured by these children are sickening and reprehensible. As such, the children have been removed from this abusive environment for their safety and well-being.”
Emerick’s bond was set at $10,000 and Saladaga’s was set at $25,000. Both posted their bond and were released last Friday. As a condition of bond, Saladaga must wear an electronic monitoring device and cannot have contact with the children.
The boys are currently living with a family member, officials said. Saladaga and Emerick have been arraigned, and the case has been sent to the 13th Circuit Solicitor for prosecution, Rampey told the Greenville News.