A mother of 15 from New Mexico has been charged after she was accused of abusing and torturing some of her children and killing their pets in front of them, authorities said.
Martha Crouch, 53, was charged with extreme cruelty to animals and child abuse, while her 57-year-old husband, Timothy, is facing a charge of obstruction, after their arrest at around 12:45 p.m. on June 24, reported Fox 32.
The couple’s arrest came after New Mexico authorities questioned their children across the country, who then made the allegations, court documents state.
The couple have eight sons and seven daughters, reported the Farmington Daily Times.
A woman beat and tortured at least some of her 15 children and forced them to watch as she brutally killed their pets, authorities said in New Mexicohttps://t.co/a5eYjStfoq
— Las Vegas RJ (@reviewjournal) 25 June 2019
According to court records, their teenage daughter, who was living in New Mexico, alleged she was physically and emotionally abused by her parents so badly that she was taken to Arizona by her older siblings, who feared for her well-being and safety.
When the teenager asked her mother a week before June 1 why she wasn’t allowed to attend school, she said her mother struck her with a plastic cooking spatula several times. The mother allegedly hit her in areas where bruising could easily be concealed, reported the Farmington Daily Times.
She also told authorities that her mother poisoned a kitten, and around October 2018 took some of their dog Lady’s puppies, and “put them into a giant pot and boiled them, making all the kids watch,” court documents state.
Authorities confirmed they had found the body of a dog, Pip, which had been shot to punish the children, and was buried in the backyard.
The Crouch parents allegedly beat, stabbed, and ran over one of their sons, the victim told authorities, adding that his mother also shot him “with a shotgun,” and that he “had BBs still inside his arm” from the incident.
Another daughter was told by her mother for three years that she was overweight, and was punished by being kept in a “fat chain.”
To avoid being detected and questioned by child welfare investigators, the Crouch family were constantly on the move, the children told detectives, according to court papers.
At one point, the mother moved three of the younger children from New Mexico to Navajo Dam when she learned authorities were set to come to their home to investigate allegations of educational neglect, reported Fox 32.
Court records show that the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department received multiple reports from social service agencies in various states such as Kansas, Missouri, Alaska, and Montana, although the nature of the allegations are unclear, and it is unclear whether the couple faced consequences.
However, one of their sons, 31-year-old Timothy Crouch Jr., denied the abuse allegations, claiming his parents are “wonderful people,” and “some of the best people you’ll meet,” he told KOB 4.
Jayme Harcrow, a spokesperson for San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, told the Daily Times four of the younger children were in the custody of CYFD on June 25.
Martha and Timothy Crouch are set to appear in court on June 26.
Animal Cruelty in the United States
On Jan. 23, two Congressmen from Florida proposed a bipartisan bill that would make cruelty against animals a felony across the United States.
— ADI (@AnimalDefenders) 23 May 2019
Fifty states across the United States currently have laws that prevent cruelty against animals, however, if animals get tortured across state lines, there is little to protect them.
With the proposed bill, authorities will have federal jurisdiction to go after the culprits. They will also be able to prosecute those who engage in acts of cruelty on federal property.
According to the Humane Society, a non-profit dedicated to resolving animal welfare problems, the animals that are most often reported as abused are dogs, cats, horses, and livestock.