PALMDALE – A 50-year-old Palmdale woman is facing eight felony counts, after her two adopted children told detectives they were deprived of food, tied up and beaten with electrical cords and a hammer, authorities said.
Ingrid Brewer is charged with two counts of torture, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of felony battery and two counts of cruelty to a child, according to Sgt. Brian Hudson of the Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau.
“Even our most veteran child abuse detectives were appalled at what we came across in this incident,” Hudson said Wednesday. “These two kids are heroes because they showed a heck of a lot of courage to take it upon themselves to get out of a bad situation on their own.”
The alleged torture came to light last week, when Brewer reported her 8-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl missing from their west Palmdale home, Hudson said.
Brewer reported the children missing around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15, and the Palmdale Station launched a “critical missing operation” due to the children’s ages, Hudson said.
About three hours later, deputies found the two children a few blocks away from their home.
“They were huddled under a blanket near a parked car and it was quite cold that morning,” Hudson said, adding that neither child had any type of winter clothing on, despite temperatures in the mid-20s.
“Once we found the children, we discovered that they ran away to escape the environment they had been placed in by their mother,” Hudson continued.
The children told detectives that, on numerous occasions, Brewer would tie their hands behind their backs and beat them as punishment, Hudson said.
“Those children disclosed being hit with electrical cords and a hammer at one point over the course of the last several months,” Hudson said, adding that both children had numerous marks and bruises on them when found.
“Injuries on their bodies that were consistent with the abuse that they had disclosed, including marks that indicated that their wrists had been restrained with a zip-tie type restraint,” Hudson said.
The children also reported being locked in their bedrooms for up to 14 hours at a time, while Brewer went to work each day as a certified nursing assistant in Los Angeles, Hudson said.
“The doors were padlocked from the outside so they could not come out of the rooms,” Hudson said. “The children were locked in separate rooms and were forced to use their trash cans as toilets.”
Shortly after the children were found, detectives arrested Brewer at her home in the 39000 Block of Clear View Court in Palmdale.
Neighbors said Wednesday that Brewer had been living at the address since about March of 2012.
“She never really spoke to anyone and she kept to herself,” Cynthia Otero said, adding that she didn’t even realize Brewer had kids until recently.
Otero said she wished the two youngsters had given her some type of clue to alert her of their predicament, and she expressed remorse that the abuse was happening just across the street from her home.
“We spoke to all of the neighbors and none of them reported ever seeing any type of suspicious activity. The sheriff’s department had no previous calls for service at the location,” Hudson said.
Brewer told detectives her adopted children were punished because they were “stealing food,” Hudson said, but declined to elaborate further.
Hudson said the children were homeschooled and had been adopted out of the foster care system about a year ago. The youngsters said the torture began in October of last year.
“Since Halloween of 2012, that’s when they first remembered being locked in their rooms and not being allowed to come out while their mom was at work,” Hudson said.
The children have been in protective custody since they were found, Hudson said. Brewer pleaded not guilty to eight felony counts on Friday, Jan. 18, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. She remains jailed on $2 million bail and is due back in court on Thursday, Jan. 31, for a scheduled preliminary hearing.