Police are searching for a Pennsylvania couple accused of waterboarding a 12-year-old girl last spring as a form of punishment.
The girl told neighbors in Aliquippa she was being punished with water in the basement of a home, according to CBS Pittsburgh.
“[She said they] would take her down into the basement and tie her to a chair and if she screamed, they shoved water down her throat,” said a neighbor who wished to stay anonymous.
Police said the girl was taped into a chair with her hands tied behind her back and rags shoved in her mouth, according to CBS Pittsburgh. Water was then poured in her mouth to prevent her from screaming and breathing, the girl alleged.
Aliquippa police told The Beaver County Times that the couple allegedly told them they learned about waterboarding by watching a movie.
“They acknowledged that they had waterboarded the victim to both the investigators from the Aliquippa Police and to Children and Youth Services of Beaver County,” Aliquippa Police Capt. Ryan Pudik said, CBS Pittsburgh reports.
Aliquippa and Beaver County police could not be immediately reached for further comment.
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The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports police obtained a search warrant and collected evidence, including the folding chair allegedly used for the waterboarding. During this time, the couple allegedly spoke with police, but subsequently, the couple did not appear for a scheduled formal interview and did not return phone calls.
Their whereabouts were still unknown as of Tuesday.
District Attorney David Lozier told the newspaper Tuesday afternoon that he anticipates the couple will soon turn themselves in.
“Their attorney is in communication with the officer who has filed the charges and they’re scheduling a date and time to turn themselves in,” Lozier said.
According to The Washington Post, both Dion and Malisa Steven were were charged with strangulation, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint, child endangerment and reckless endangerment.
The name of the couple’s attorney was not immediately available.