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Man, woman forced children to stay awake

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Abused multiple times a day and sleep deprived.

Three children now out of harm's way after a couple was placed under arrest.

Joseph Leon Guerrero and Thelma Quinata face charges of aggravated assault and terrorizing, both with special allegations for vulnerable victims.

Court documents state the children, 13 years of age or younger, were interviewed separately.

The defendants reportedly forced the children to stay awake, even a blink would prompt abuse.

The children described a metal bucket with a fire burning inside.

If they went to sleep or even blinked, the defendants would hold their face close to the flames, or they'd be forced to inhale the smoke.

The defendants also allegedly made threats to the children.

If either defendant was to go to jail, the children were led to believe that upon their release, they'd be beaten or killed.

When interviewed by police, Leon Guerrero said he was trying to teach the children not to go to sleep early.

Though he admitted to striking the victims with a broom, he said it was an accident.

Quinata, meanwhile, told police she used a belt, a bamboo stick, or her hand to discipline the children due to their attitude or behavior and that it worked because the children were young.

Police visited the home, which had no running water or power.

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