Police Say Tampa Mother Starved, Tortured Children

Sunday, Mar 30, 2014  |  Updated 5:26 PM EDT
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Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

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A southwest Florida mother who police say starved and tortured her eight children has been given a $120,000 bail.

Jamie Marie Hicks, 43, was charged Thursday with two counts of aggravated child abuse and two counts of child neglect. She appeared in court Saturday.

Tampa police say Hicks hit and choked the children, held their heads under water and withheld food from them for days.

The Tampa Bay Times reports 16-year-old twin boys were malnourished and hospitalized after weighing in at 88 and 94 pounds.

The twins' stepfather, Vernon Courtney Lovell, was charged with two counts of child neglect. It's unclear if the couple has attorneys.

Police expect more charges as medical reports come back on the younger children.

State child welfare officials have taken custody of the children and are investigating.

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