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Aunt, uncle arrested for allegedly branding, strangling, and shooting five nieces and nephews: police

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A couple in Southern California has been arrested amid an investigation into allegations that they tortured and physically abused five nieces and nephews placed into their care, police said.

Jessica Salas-Ruiz, 26, and Fernando Inzunza, 36, were arrested last week by the Rialto police amid allegations children placed in their care were branded, strangled, and shot with a pellet gun, according to a press release.

According to the report, the five minors lived with the couple for four years — from 2017 to 2021 — and were subjected to “various forms of physical abuse and torture including branding, strangulation, and being shot with pellet guns,” the Rialto Police Department said.

Fernando Inzunza, 36, and Jessica Salas-Ruiz, 26, were arrested by Rialto police on May 25 amid allegations of child abuse.

Fernando Inzunza, 36, and Jessica Salas-Ruiz, 26, were arrested by Rialto police on May 25 amid allegations of child abuse.
(Rialto Police Department)

Their ages were between 11 and 17 at the time of the alleged abuse, FOX 11 in Los Angeles reported. 

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Rialto police said the children moved into the home of a different relative last year, who reported the abuse to the police in January, Cpl. Nic Parcher said. The Barstow Police Department also investigated the abuse allegations back in August 2021.

A Rialto Police Department officer on a motorcycle. 

A Rialto Police Department officer on a motorcycle. 
(Rialto Police Department/Twitter)

Forensic evidence and physical marks on the children corroborated their accounts, police said.

Salas-Ruiz and Inzunza were booked into the West Valley Detention Center and face multiple counts of corporal punishment of a child. Additionally, Inzunza was charged with torture.

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Each of their bails was set to $750,000 and was due to appear in Rancho Superior Court on May 31, according to jail records.

Salas-Ruiz did not appear in a search of jail records, though police said her bail has also been set at $750,000.

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Additional details regarding the case, including how the couple gained custody of the children were not provided.

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