RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif.- Prosecutors have filed more torture charges against three adults accused of abusing and imprisoning two brothers after one of the youths said his parents burned another sibling's body in a trash can, officials said.
The case began earlier this month when two boys, ages 17 and 12, told investigators they had been tortured for years in their Wonder Valley home. Officials say the boys were malnourished and underdeveloped and showed signs of being whipped and chained.
After the boys' parents and another adult living in the home were arrested, authorities learned that a third son, Rainbow, apparently died in 1991.
The three adults were charged Monday with torture in the beating of the third boy, which may have contributed to his death, said San Bernardino County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Linda Root.
The three, who face life sentences if convicted, are being held on $2 million bail each.
Prosecutors said they hope to show at trial that when Rainbow misbehaved, he was beaten severely by his father, John ''Rajohn Lord'' Davis and Faye Potts, another adult who shared the home with Davis and his wife, Carrie.
Witness statements indicate that Rainbow, the middle son, was kicked in the abdomen and beaten with ''an instrument,'' Root said without elaborating.
Prosecutors said that witnesses told investigators they saw Davis holding Rainbow's body in his arms after one alleged beating. The older of the surviving boys, Yahweh Lord, has told investigators that he watched as his parents shortly after that beating burned Rainbow's body in a trash can in the yard of their home.
''He has a fairly clear recollection of his childhood,'' Root said. ''He saw the flames.''
The adults have acknowledged burning the body to investigators, but insist that Rainbow died of illness, not from beatings.
Bone fragments have been found near the family's desert home and tests are being conducted to determine if they are the boy's.
Davis, 53; his wife, Carrie Lee Davis, 41; and Potts, 46, have pleaded innocent to charges of torture, child abuse and false imprisonment. Davis has said he followed biblical teachings that call for being strict with children.
The adults cannot be charged with homicide, Root said, because she cannot directly link the beating of Rainbow to his death. Their court-appointed defense attorneys could not be reached for comment Monday.
Authorities said when they found the two surviving brothers they had marks on their wrists consistent with being restrained. Interviews with the brothers indicate they have been isolated from the outside world since birth.