HAZLETON — City police arrested two people on charges they forced four children to drink hot sauce, repeatedly struck them with clothes hangers, and burned a child with cigarettes.
Jamal Antonio Williams, 35, and Jennifer Marie Collins, 30, were arrested Thursday after an investigation that began in January by city police detectives, Luzerne County Children and Youth Services and the district attorney’s office.
Police said the children — ages 10, 9, 4 and 3 — were placed in protective custody Jan. 18.
They were repeatedly struck with leather belts and beaten with plastic hangers with each child being struck by their own color-coded hanger, authorities report.
Their bedroom doors had barrel locks that prevented them from leaving their rooms, police allege. And one child had seven burn-type scars and another was denied food when he misbehaved, officers noted.
The children were forced to drink hot sauce, police say, and one child was strangled by Williams.
Police added the residence on Peace Street was found to be in filthy condition with an overpowering odor of cat and dog urine and feces.
When the children were placed in protective custody, they asked if they were going to be burned, police said.
The 4-year-old and 3-year-old made sizzling sounds during their interviews at the Luzerne County Children’s Advocacy Center, authorities reported.
Williams and Collins were arraigned by District Judge Joseph Zola in Hazleton and were both jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $100,000 and $35,000 bail, respectively.
Williams was charged with four counts each of simple assault and endangering the welfare of children, two counts each of aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and strangulation and one count of intercept communications.
Collins is facing four counts of endangering the welfare of children and one count of simple assault.