ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A woman physically and emotionally abused at least six of her adopted children over a decade, including forcing them to use buckets as toilets and limiting their diet so severely that it stunted their growth, authorities said.
Anya James, 50, was charged yesterday with 10 counts of kidnapping and six counts of first-degree assault.
Anchorage police said that James fostered and adopted the six children between 2000 and 2010, collecting more than $750,000 in state adoption subsidies. After receiving a tip in October, police began investigating allegations that she abused four of the children living in her home.
A message left with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, which oversees adoptions, was not immediately returned yesterday.
Investigators said that in 2001, James moved to the city's affluent Hillside neighborhood, where she home-schooled her children and limited their contact with the outside world.
Children were confined to small rooms, with alarms on doors and windows to signal any escape attempts, authorities said. Even though police said that there were three working toilets in the house, the children were forced to use a bucket filled with cat litter.
Authorities also said that James restricted the children's diets and that they became malnourished. Several of them were hospitalized when they were removed from the house in October.
The malnourishment stunted their growth and prevented them from going through puberty at the appropriate age, police said.
Detectives believe that James may have had other adopted children before 2000. They have asked the public for any information about children living in her home before that time.
Bail for James was set at $100,000.