by: Tom Jones Updated:
HAMPTON, Ga.,None - Clayton County police arrested a husband and wife after they said they beat their five children with electrical cords and locked them up in a closet for days without food and water. The children are all
younger than the age of 14.
Officers have charged Anthony Irvin, 33, and his wife, Tammy Irvin, 33, with cruelty to children, false imprisonment, battery/family violence and contributing to deprivation of a minor.
According to criminal arrest warrants, police say they received a faxed police report from officers in Escambia County,
Fla., detailing allegations of abuse inside the children's home in Hampton on Thorne Ridge Trail.
Neighbors said the children had gone to Florida to visit relatives.
The warrants indicate the children said their parents disciplined them by repeatedly "whipping" them with electrical cords. Some of the children said they were beaten and placed in a closet for days as a form of punishment.
One child said she was locked in the garage for days. The children said they were not given any food or water or allowed to go to the bathroom when they were locked up.
Channel 2's Tom Jones talked to a neighbor who doubted the charges were true.
"I don't think they starved them or anything like that," Jason Swift said.
Swift lives across the street from the family and says Anthony Irvin told him the allegations were not true.
"He spoke to me a few times about the
situation, saying it was untrue and that one of the aunts wanted one of the daughters, and just told them to say this and that," Swift said.
Swift said he often sees the children and they never looked malnourished.
"They really didn't look abused. But you can't say what goes on inside the house. Everything looked fine to me," he said.
He said Irvin asked him to write a letter to Department of Family and Children Services attesting to his character once the allegations surfaced.
Swift said he did just that. He wrote: "He seemed to be a pretty decent guy. Every time I see the kids they didn't look anything out of the ordinary."
Swift said he thought his character reference helped. Then he noticed several police cars pull up to the Irvin's home and bring them out in handcuffs.
"I thought they came over here to get them for something else. I definitely wouldn't have thought it was child abuse," Swift said.
The children are now in state custody.
Irvins couldn't be reached to get their side of the story. It's important to note these are only allegations at this point.