Couple from FL Tortured Children Case Caught in Utah

Couple from FL Tortured Children Case Caught in Utah

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Sam Penrod Reporting A Florida couple on the run and accused of brutally torturing their children was arrested this evening on Highway 191 south of Blanding, Utah. It’s good news for Florida lawmen.

Capt. Jim Cernich, Citrus County, Fla. Sheriff's Dept.: "They will be returned here to Citrus County to stand trial for those charges."

The allegations of abuse include unthinkable torture of the couple's own adopted children. The couple has been on the run from authorities since Monday, when they failed to show up in court in Florida. Since then a manhunt has been underway coast to coast, but their cross country attempt to escape justice ended tonight in Southeastern Utah.

John and Linda Dollar of Citrus County, Florida each face five felony counts of child abuse for allegedly torturing five of their seven adopted children.

Capt. Jim Cernich, Citrus County, Fla. Sheriff's Dept.: "They had been shocked by a cattle prod, hit on the feet with sticks and belts, their feet put in a vice, and items of that nature.”

Authorities also say the children were starved. 14-year old twins weighed just 36 and 38 pounds, at least 80 pounds less than normal. The Dollars allegedly locked the children in a closet and put a bell on the door so they could punish their children if they tried to escape.

Gail Tierney, Neighbor: "If they tried to leave the closet then of course they were alerted that they were trying to get out."

Capt. Jim Cernich, Citrus County, Fla. Sheriff's Dept.: "We retrieved several items from the house that we feel were used in abuse of the children."

Neighbors say the children were rarely seen outside and were home-schooled.

Paula Spradlin, Neighbor: "They were quiet, they were withdrawn, they didn't...they schooled them in a separate room. They didn't bring them out into the other rooms with the other students."

Two of the children were apparently favored by their parents and were not abused. And now for neighbors, a sense of relief, knowing that the children will be safe.

Tom McMurry, Neighbor: "We can't understand anybody abusing children. It's just very difficult to fathom that someone would do that."

The children are in protective custody. The suspects are being held tonight in the San Juan County jail. It will be next week before extradition proceedings can begin to get the couple returned to Florida to face charges.

We will have much more on this story on Saturday.

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