UPDATE: Father of Abuse Victims: ‘…They just ate crumbs off the carpet.’

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UPDATE — WCCB Charlotte has obtained arrest warrants for the people accused of starving four East Charlotte children.

Records say Ronika Bell neglected her kids to the point of “starvation.” It goes on to say the oldest daughter, 10 at the time, had “…scarring on the back from being beaten with various items, described wire hangers, belts and sticks.”
 
Records also say Ronika Bell’s cousin, Deron Cuthbertson, Jr. often babysat the children. It says he also starved the children and left “scarring on the left knee” of the eight-year-old boy.
 
The children’s father, Joshua Bell, tells WCCB Charlotte he had not seen the children in two years. He says as soon as the mother brought them to his Florida home, he knew something was wrong. He took them to the hospital where they were treated for severe malnutrition. 
 
“She gave us a story talking about, ‘Oh, the kids ate all the way here.’,” said Bell. “But they got to the house, and they’re looking at food, their eyes were huge. And they started eating, and three bites, just throwing up. Everybody’s throwing up everywhere. [They] can’t keep down a bite of food.”
 
The father says his children are now back in school and are recovering.
He is cooperating with police and says he’s learning more details about their abuse every day.
 
You can find our previous report on the children here.

 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. –  A father tells the heartbreaking story of finding his children near death from starvation.  The mother of those children is in jail accused of committing the heinous crime.

The children’s father Joshua Bell, who only talked with WCCB from his home in Florida, telling us about the abuse his children lived through and also bringing attention to the fact that this happened in our communities.

Bell said that they had to eat raw food, if they ate and eating crumbs off the carpet when there was no food.  And if they ate without permission, he says their mother would beat them.  He said that they were locked in a room for almost a year where they were unable to get out.

Bell said he did notice some red flags.  When he talked with his children on the phone they were very quite when their mother was around. 

He had not seen the children  for two years until his estranged wife showed up at his Florida home with them on September 6th. ” I am so happy to see my kids, but as soon as I get out the car I see clothes just very baggy, like extremely baggy and I’m getting up on them and their faces are sunk in and they are very, very skinny.  It hurt my heart.” said Bell. 

Bell took the four children to the hospital where he learned they were severely malnourished.  The two youngest children were in intensive care for a week,  took 2 weeks to hold down food.  For now the kids are recovering and Bell is trying to make their lives as normal as possible.

Ronika Bell and the man she lived with Deron Cutherbetson have been charged with felony child abuse

 **The father gave WCCB full permission to use photos of the children. 

 ** To donate to the Bell children, click here