|Jeffery Trebilcock and his wife in court|
A cruel Washington couple was arrested for severely abusing children and feeding them dog food.
A Longview man, who is accused of neglect and withholding food from his five adopted children, took the witness stand in his own defense.
Jeffery Trebilcock denied forcing a 13-year-old to eat dog and goat food, making him stay outside on the porch or leave him barefoot. Trebilcock said he allowed the boy to eat as much food as he wanted, but he liked the taste of dog food.
Trebilcock stated that he did not realize the child was malnourished because he never saw him naked.
The child weighed only 49 pounds, half the normal weight for his age, when he and his four sisters were taken away and were put in protective custody in March of last year.
The boy was severely malnourished and near death when he was rushed to a hospital in Portland last year. His heart was beating so slowly a doctor was surprised he was still alive, Smith said. The boy and his four sisters between the ages of 8 and 13, all quickly gained weight and improved their health once they were away from the Trebilcocks.
Trebilcock and his wife Rebecca are accused of criminal mistreatment in a bench trial before a judge of the Superior Court of Cowlitz County.
The child testified said he was not allowed to use the bathroom at night so he had to urinate in a cup. He said that if his parents found the cup, they forced him to drink it.
The boy said his parents taped his mouth shut as punishment. He stated that he was often cold and wet. When he urinated in bed, the Trebilcocks forced him to wash the sheets and clothes in a bucket in the yard, regardless of the cold or wet weather. Then he hung up the clothes and sheets outside to dry.
He was not allowed to wear shoes often in the 30 acres West Longview property and he did the work of feeding and watering the goats and other animals, barefoot, he said. His parents insisted that his bare feet are to be inspected before his entering the inside the home to ensure no dirt comes inside the house.
However, no one would bother, he said, so he spent hours huddled on the porch. If he wept he said, his mother or other family member came to the door and doused him with cold water from a cup.
The boy said his parents sometimes fed him on the porch. They put the food in a plastic container, and passed it through the door for him. Breakfasts often amounted to dry oatmeal, he said. At least on one occasion, the Trebilcocks fed him moldy bread, not wanting the bread to go to waste.