A couple is accused of keeping two young girls – ages 5 and 10 – locked up inside an Anaheim mobile home, with broken toilets and piles of trash strewn about the trailer.
“Neither child has ever attended school,” Deputy District Attorney Lori Smith said. “The 10-year-old has never been registered or attended school, nor has the 5-year old.”
The girls had teeth damaged beyond repair and lived in what prosecutors called "filthy" conditions. It was not clear how the girls are related to the couple, but officials said they are relatives.
Petra Huffmire, 41, pleaded not guilty on Friday to two counts of felony child abuse.
Her husband Lester Huffmire faces the same charges, including false imprisonment and causing great bodily injury.
Prosecutors said the couple did not work, but rather spent their days playing computer games.
Neighbors said Petra Huffmire claimed to be from Germany and said she wasn’t allowed to leave the country.
Authorities said the girls were never allowed to leave the home, and neighbors said they suspected something was wrong.
“We’d see a corner of the drape lift up and there was a kid peeking out then it would drop real quick,” neighbor Grace McGee told NBC4.
McGee said instinct told her something may be suspicious about the couple living in the mobile home two doors away and that it went on for years.
McGee told NBC4 she tried to file a report with a child abuse hotline more than once. She finally convinced police to do a welfare check at the home.
Inside the home, police found piles of trash, appliances covered in mold, toilets that do not work and condoms piled next to a teddy bear, according to prosecutors.
McGee said she saw the children being taken into protective custody.
“They looked frightened; their hair was all matted,” she said. “They didn’t look good.”
Both Lester and Petra Huffmire are being held on $100,000 bail.