Authorities say the mother of the children brought the girl to the Highland Police Department on Monday after she noticed bruising on the child's back. The girl had just returned from a weekend visit with her biological father, identified as Antwone Rattler.
The girl told detectives that she had been beaten for misbehaving. She said she was tortured almost daily, describing how she was bound and gagged and forced into physically exhausting positions for extended periods of time.
When investigators interviewed her 9-year-old brother, he said he was subjected to similar beatings and punishment. He said they were forced to stand in awkward positions to the point of exhaustion.
Rattler was arrested at an apartment complex and is being held on $500,000 bail.
Police say he was already on felony probation for a 2011 conviction of abuse in Riverside County related to the 9-year-old boy, who was 7 at the time. The arrest warrant from that case described evidence of physical abuse from swollen lips to visible bruises. The boy also said Rattler "would hit them both on the hands with a hanger until their hands and fingers bled." Rattler served 171 days in jail for that case.
"The children did visit with the father, so they did spend quite a bit of time with him," said Cindy Bachman, spokesperson for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
When asked why the children were allowed to visit their father unsupervised after his first abuse conviction, the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services said they could not acknowledge specific cases, but in general, the court weighs the circumstances of each child abuse case. The department also said social services makes recommendations to the court to determine what will happen during reunification with children.