A 6-year-old Hampton boy cried and told officials he wasn't supposed to reveal abuse inflicted on him and his four sisters by their parents, according to Clayton County Magistrate Court warrants.
The child also said he was ordered by his parents to claim responsibility for back injuries one of his sisters suffered at their hands. All five were reportedly "terrified" of their father.
The parents, Anthony George Irvin and Tammy Terrell Irvin, both 33, made their first appearances Friday morning in Clayton County Magistrate Court. The father was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair, but no information was provided about his medical condition.
Each took a turn before Magistrate Betrice Scott and listened as she read the charges filed against them.
Neither asked any questions and both requested a public defender. They are being held without bond in the Clayton County Jail, pending a preliminary hearing.
Criminal warrants filed against the Irvins provide details about the alleged abuse. On Sept. 29, the sheriff's office in Escambia County, Pensacola, Fla., contacted the Clayton County Police Department with information about alleged abuse inside the family's Thorne Ridge Trail home.
The boy and two of his sisters, 10 and 9, were in Florida state custody based on their interview with child protective services. The three children reportedly told officials they and their two older sisters, ages 14 and 11, were beaten repeatedly with belts and electrical cords.
After the beatings, their mother rubbed cocoa butter on their wounds and covered them with bandages, the children told officials. The boy cried and said he was not supposed to tell anyone about the whippings. He also said his parents told him to say he hit his 10-year-old sister in the back to cover for wounds she suffered from the whippings.
The boy reportedly told officials that his parents did not work, but made his sisters go out into the community to beg for money, calling it "fund-raising."
Police said the family lived at the home for three weeks without water when service was disconnected for non-payment. One of the children told officials that the Irvins used money for the water bill to pay for the trip to Florida.
The parents are also charged with locking the oldest child in a closet for three days, and in a garage for two days, without food or water or use of the toilet. The girl, who is Anthony Irvin's stepdaughter, told officials that, when she covered up with coats she found boxed up in the garage, her mother took them away.
The other children said their father tied the closet door shut with a shoestring tied to a nail.
After Clayton County officials talked to the two older sisters, who allegedly confirmed the younger siblings' accounts of abuse, they were also taken into state custody.
The Irvins are charged with five counts of contributing to the deprivation of a minor, 10 felony counts of cruelty to children, four counts of felony battery under the Family Violence Act, and two counts of false imprisonment.