By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Two women are now behind bars after police say they physically beat three children in their care, and forced them to eat dog feces.

Amanda Wright, 29, and Besline Joseph, 25, have been charged with three counts each of first-degree child abuse, second-degree child abuse, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, neglect of a minor, stalking, use of a dangerous weapon with intent to injure, false imprisonment, and one count each of causing ingestion of a bodily fluid, preventing/interfering with report of suspected child abuse or neglect, and conspiracy to commit first-degree child abuse.

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The two women were arrested at their Wicomico County home Wednesday after an investigation by Maryland State Police.

Police began investigating on January 26, when they were told about child abuse allegations involving Wright and Joseph and the three children in their care.

Child Protective Services officials removed the three children from the home as soon as the investigation began.

Investigators found that the three children, ages 8, 9 and 10, lived with Wright and her live-in girlfriend, Joseph.

The investigation found that since late spring of 2017, the three children received “physical beatings on multiple occasions” from both Wright and Joseph.

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Police say the children were beat with extension cords, belts, sticks, and other objects, and the children had bloody noses, bruises, and cuts as a result of these beatings.

The children were also locked in closets and a basement, and fed only bread, water, and oatmeal, according to police.

Wright and Joseph are also accused of forcing the children to eat dog feces, and threatened to kill them if they told anyone about what was happening.

“Investigators were told that they were at times forced to collect and eat dog feces from a yard at the residence,” said Greg Shipley of the Maryland State Police. “Some wonder why this maybe didn’t come to the attention of law enforcement earlier, but investigators have learned in this situation that these children were threatened with death if they told anyone about what was happening to them.”

“I think it’s terrible. Children and little children. Regardless of how big or whatever, it’s awful,” a neighbor said.

The investigation into this case ongoing.

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Ava-joye Burnett