Tampa, Florida -- A mother and her husband were arrested Friday after police say the mother was abusing her children, two of which were hospitalized due to malnutrition.
Tampa Police say Jamie Hicks called police around 4:40 p.m. to report two of her children missing. Shortly after the police department issued an alert, a citizen spotted the children walking along U.S. 41 at County Line Road.
The 10- and 13-year-old boys were recovered and during follow-up interviews, detectives determined the mother had been denying food to the two oldest boys. Both were so malnourished they were hospitalized.
Detectives say while interviewing the eight children in the home, whose ages range from 16 to 2 years old, they received consistent accounts of abuse by their mother.
Hicks, 43, and her husband Vernon Lovell, who is the boys stepfather, were arrested. Hicks was charged with 2 counts aggravated child abuse and 2 counts of child neglect. Lovell, 53, was charged with 2 counts child neglect.
Detectives are awaiting the results of medical tests to determine if the parents will face additional charges.