Two San Pablo women are scheduled to return to court next week to enter pleas on felony charges that they physically and psychologically abused three children who had been in their care for the past two years.Faasese Fiu, 56, and Satu Diaz, 34, were arrested Monday and each charged Wednesday with three counts of felony child abuse for allegedly abusing two 11-year-old twin boys and their 13-year-old sister.Fiu and Diaz did not enter pleas during their Thursday arraignment and are scheduled to return to court April 9 to be assigned attorneys and enter pleas to the charges, according to the court records.The children were originally from Samoa, but were sent to San Pablo to live with their grandmother, Fiu, and their aunt, Diaz, in the 2500 block of 22nd Street in March, 2007, after their parents divorced, according to San Pablo police Lt. Kenneth Bays.Their mother had allegedly fled to a different island to escape abuse from their father and their father sent the children to San Pablo, Bays said.The children had never been enrolled in school and had allegedly been beaten with sticks and other hard objects. They had old and new bruises and scars covering their entire bodies, Bays said.Their ankles were swollen from allegedly being forced to stand for hours on concrete in the hot sun and late into the night in the backyard and they were allegedly only given food about twice a week, Bays said.They bathed themselves in the backyard with a garden hose and would be beaten if they asked to go to the bathroom, according to San Pablo police Lt. Mark Foisie.The three siblings escaped March 26 and went to a liquor store on San Pablo Avenue around the corner from the house.The owner of the liquor at 14301 San Pablo Ave. asked that his name not be printed, but said he had seen the children that morning.”The three of them came in Thursday last week,” he said. “They were in really bad shape. It was like they were from a different planet.”He said somebody gave them money and they bought some candy and left.
Police said the children then went to a nightclub across the street and asked for help.When police found them at about 11:45 a.m., they looked malnourished, withdrawn and desperate, police said.They were taken to Doctors Medical Center, where they were examined, and then to Martinez, where they were interviewed at the Child Interview Center.One neighbor, who also declined to give his name, said he had known the family for a long time and did not believe that the allegations were true.”Samoans, they protect their family,” the man said.He said the family was very close and described Fiu as a “softy,” saying she was a very loving person.He said he believed the bruises on the children’s bodies were self-inflicted.”They were rowdy kids,” he said. “Hopefully it will all get straightened out soon,” he said. Bays said another aunt had also been claiming that the children had caused the injuries themselves while roughhousing, but said that although she had been given the opportunity to talk to investigators, she had not come in for an interview.He also said that the children described the abuse in detail and the injuries on their bodies corroborate their story.”Their injuries substantiate their statements and refute the idea that they did that to themselves or to each other,” Bays said.Another neighbor said children often played outside in front of their houses on the quiet residential street, but she had never seen the three victims outside, which she thought was odd. She said she hadn’t seen
anything suspicious, but didn’t even know the victims lived there.Several other children lived in the house as well and were often seen outside playing, she said.Police said the other children appeared well cared for and showed no signs of abuse.The three victims were taken into child protective custody and police have contacted their mother, but it was unclear where they would go next. Bays said their mother didn’t have the money to bring them back to Samoa and it wasn’t clear at this point if they would be safe there.Fiu and Diaz were arrested Monday and remained in county jail today, each on $450,000 bail, officials said.
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