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HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania couple tried to starve their three children to death because the father no longer wanted them, state police said in charges filed this week.
Police said officers and Dauphin County social workers rescued the emaciated children, girls aged 4 and 5 and a boy aged 6, from their parents on Dec. 16 and took them to a hospital. Details on their current health were not available.
Police identified the parents as Joshua Weyant, 33, and Brandi Weyant, 38, of Halifax, a small town about 21 miles north of the state capital of Harrisburg. According to a police statement, both were charged on Friday afternoon with the same 18 felonies: multiple counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, unlawful restraint and endangering the welfare of children.
The couple was being held in Dauphin County Prison. It was not immediately clear whether they had a lawyer.
The couple began periodically withholding food and adequate care in September after Joshua Weyant decided he no longer wanted the children, police said.
The children told investigators that they were locked in an unheated bedroom during cold weather, were starved for long periods of time and beaten by their parents. They had severe bruises and abrasions when rescued, according to the police.
PennLive.com, citing additional details found in court papers, said the children weighed between 23 and 28 pounds and were thickly covered in body lice. The website reported that two of the children were a week or less from death, according to doctors.
Police said the children required "advanced medical treatment" as a result of their injuries.
The parents are due in court for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 2.
Editing by Jonathan Allen and Dan Grebler