April 13, 2011

Couple Jailed After Forcing 12-Year-Old Daughter To Live Outside In Backyard

Joanna Moreno Facebook

Fort Pierce, Florida (The Weekly Vice) - Joanna Moreno, 31, and Juan Moreno, 34, were jailed Saturday after they allegedly forced one of their three children to live outside in their home's backyard.

According to the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, Deputies were dispatched to the couple's residence after someone called 911 and then hung up.

When officers arrived at the home, they were told that one of the couple's three children was forced to eat, sleep, and even bathe in the backyard. She was only allowed inside at night to sleep on the floor with no blankets or sheets, according to the arrest affidavit

Investigators say officers noted that the couple appeared to have been involved in a physical altercation prior to their arrival.

Detectives searched the residence, and found an outdoor shower, buckets, and clothes in a plastic shed. There was also an area that had been used as a latrine because the girl was not allowed to use the bathroom inside the house.

The 12-year-old was also forced to shower outside and wash her clothes using buckets. While she was dirty and poorly-dressed, the couples two other daughters (ages 6 and 10) appeared to be well cared for. The Department of Children and Families took custody of all three children.

Mr Moreno, who is a a landscape contractor, stated that his wife (the victim's stepmother) had been abusing the child for years. He stated that he felt bad about the situation, but failed to take action.

When the child learned that her father had been arrested, she was terrified by the thought of living alone with her step-mother. That is when she told police the extent of the abuse.

Mr. and Mrs Moreno were booked into the St. Lucie County Jail on charges of felony child abuse. The couple was also charged with domestic battery. Mr. Moreno was charged with a felony as a result of the fight he had with his wife because it involved strangulation.

Mandi Milenko
The Weekly Vice

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