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Okla. parents abused adopted children, fed them dog food, says report

Okla. parents abused adopted children, fed them dog food, says report
John Kluth (L), Sonja Kluth (R) KWTV

(CBS/KWTV/AP) YUKON, Okla. - The Canadian County District Attorney has filed child abuse and child neglect charges against two Oklahoma parents accused of beating their three adopted children and feeding them pet food.

John and Sonja Kluth are each facing three counts of child abuse and three counts of child neglect for allegedly abusing their adopted 15-year-old and 11-year-old sons and 9-year-old daughter, reports CBS affiliate KWTV.

"They've been abused just about every way imaginable, they've been burned, cut, beat," Canadian County Sheriff Randall Edwards told KWTV.

The couple was arrested Tuesday, but reportedly bonded out of jail later the same day.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by local station KOCO, the parents "whipped all the children with a horsewhip...while telling them to take it like a slave."

The nine-year-old girl told investigators her mom would bang their heads on the doors, walls and bathroom counter tops. One of the boys showed an investigator his disfigured fingers and said one was from being smashed with the can opener, the other a mallet.

Court documents claim Sonja Kluth burned, struck and strangled her 15-year-old son, and beat and strangled her 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. She also allegedly confined the boys in an underground shelter and gave them only dog food to eat, while the girl was fed cat food.

The repulsive abuse, which may have gone on up to five years, was discovered when a sheriff found the oldest boy sleeping in a box behind a Braum's ice cream and dairy store.

"The 15-year-old boy could easily pass as a 10-year-old, that's how thin and frail he was as a result of being malnourished," said Sheriff Edwards.

The Kluth's were reportedly being paid $1,500 every month per child by the state of Wisconsin, according to KWTV.

"These people were basically out just for the money. They weren't out for taking care of these kids," said the Kluth's biological son Bill, who was not shocked by the appalling allegations.

"They were just put on a regiment where you can't talk to the kid, you can't love the kid, you can't say anything to the kid," he said. "The kids always had to sit in the corner, so we knew things weren't right."