A father and stepmother were charged with withholding their 14-year-old daughter's food and water so drastically that she weighed only 48 pounds, authorities said.
Jon Pomeroy, 43, and his wife, Rebecca Long, 44, could face as much as four years in prison if convicted of criminal mistreatment, prosecutor's spokesman Dan Donohoe said. The couple were released on bail late Monday after the charges were brought.
The girl was removed from the family home near Carnation, about 20 miles east of Seattle, in August after a neighbor called child welfare authorities.
The veteran detective who investigated "said this is the worst case he's ever seen, especially for an ongoing pattern of abuse over several years," county sheriff's spokesman John Urquhart said.
According to prosecutors, Long confirmed to a deputy that she considered the girl a behavior problem and restricted her water as discipline. The woman said she had been home-schooling the girl and her 12-year-old brother for four years.
The girl, who is 4 feet 7 inches tall, told authorities that she was given primarily toast to eat and only about 6 ounces of water per day. She said her stepmother even watched when she brushed her teeth to make sure she didn't drink extra water.