Mother and partner starve four kids to the brink of death


A North Carolina mother has been arrested and charged with sickening child abuse after allegedly locking her four children away in a room and intentionally starving them to the brink of death.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrested Ronika Bell, 28, and her partner, Deron Cuthbertson after she dumped her children aged 10 to six with her estranged husband and their biological father in Florida.

Appalled at their gaunt and skeletal features, Joshua Bell tried to feed his kids, only to find they were too starved to swallow having been locked away for six months, so he rushed them to the ER for treatment.

Bell abandoned her children to their father in September, having kept them from him for more than two years.

It took a cross-state investigation till the weekend to take Bell and Cuthbertson into custody to be charged with the torture of Aniya, Zymir, Tasean and Dontre.

Captain Jacquelyn Hulsey, of the Special Victims Division in Charlotte-Mecklenburg said they believe Bell and her 31-year-old partner, intentionally cooked food so that the children could smell it from their locked prison.

‘The doorknobs had been manipulated so that the children could not get out,’ said CMPD Capt. Jackie Hulsey in a news conference Tuesday morning.

‘They were withheld food, they were withheld attention, and they were also occasionally physically beaten. The children, the information obtained from the children, is that there was plenty of food in the home, they were just now allowed access to it. They were not fed.;

Neighbors at Bell’s home in Charlotte said they were stunned by the arrest because they never knew that she had a child, let alone four.

‘I walk down to that corner all the time I never see anybody there,’ said Beverly King a neighbor to WCNC.

According to police, Bell dumped her children with Joshua Bell at his home in Pensacola, Florida.

After he had rushed them to hospital he contacted the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office in Florida who in turn contacted their counterparts in North Carolina.

‘The children were ill and extremely thin the father tried to feed the children they became ill they could not hold down food. He took them to the hospital,’ said Hulsey to WCNC.

Two of the children required a lenghty stay in hospital – although all four are now with their father at home, healthy and at school.

Joshua Bell spoke to WSCOTV about the harrowing moment he realized what his estranged wife had done to his children.

‘It took everything in my power not to snap,’ said Joshua Bell. ‘I just cried. I cried myself to sleep.’

Joshua Bell said when he first set eyes on his children he knew there was something wrong.

‘Kids were skin and bones,’ said the angry father to WSOCTV.

‘You could see all their clothes hanging off of them, faces sunk in. My youngest, he had no complexion at all. He was gray.’

He then described the moment he tried to feed them: ‘They tried to eat like every couple of bites. They just started throwing up. Their body just wasn’t used to food anymore.’

Seven-year-old Dantre spent a week in intensive care and had two blood transfusions – but has now recovered.

Captain Hulsey said: “I can tell you medically speaking that this is not something they are going to recover from overnight, psychologically or physically.”

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