Thursday, January 8, 2015

Custodial dad, girlfriend get 20 years for torture of his three kids; what happened to the mother? (Hesperia California)

Not one word of explanation here as to how ERIK AUSTIN FLORES obtained custody of these three kids or what happened to their mother.

Hesperia couple gets 20 years to life for torture

By STAFF REPORTS Posted Jan. 8, 2015 @ 6:59 pm Updated at 7:01 PM

VICTORVILLE — A Hesperia father and his girlfriend were sentenced Thursday to 20 years to life in prison for their roles in starving the man’s two young children, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office said.

Erik Austin Flores, 30, and Mariah Rita Sugg, 23, were convicted of torture and child abuse last month. Three children, aged 4, 5 and 7, were removed from Flores’ home last year. The two younger children were severely starved, while the 7-year-old had better nutrition because he was given food at school.

“I am so grateful that the jury took care to find justice for these children,” Deputy District Attorney David Foy said in a statement after the conviction last month. “These kids were starved to the point where witnesses described them as looking like concentration camp survivors and zombies.”

Flores and Sugg were arrested in August after authorities determined that they were responsible for the emaciated children. The couple lived together and jointly took care of the children from March 1 until June 6, the DA’s office said.

The children were removed from the home after county social workers were tipped off by employees at Marinello School of Beauty in Victorville, who observed the “extremely thin” and “listless” children on May 16, according to the DA’s office.

Flores’ 7-year-old son testified last month that he and his siblings were beaten, forced to do push-ups, sit-ups and run in place for hours and would be punished for slowing down.

The child testified that they were given breaks only to eat small portions of food, Foy said.

A forensic pediatrician for Loma Linda University Medical Center testified that the 4-year-old, a girl, would have died soon had she not been hospitalized.

A family friend told the Daily Press in November that Sugg had “just got caught up with this guy and it’s just a mess.”

(Flores) put it all on Mariah (Sugg), and he wasn’t at work 24/7 like he said was,” Linda Clearwater said.

Clearwater and Sugg’s mother, Brenda Sugg, said Mariah Sugg had been in classes below her age group since elementary school and had a fifth-grade reading level in high school.

“We asked about getting a mental evaluation for Mariah,” Clearwater said, “but the court said it wasn’t necessary.”