Tampa mom arrested, 8 kids taken away, police say boys malnouris - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Tampa mom arrested, 8 kids taken away, police say boys malnourished

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Jamie Hicks, 43,  and Vernon Lovel, 53. Jail booking photo Jamie Hicks, 43, and Vernon Lovel, 53. Jail booking photo
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - A Tampa couple is charged with child abuse after police say two of the eight children in their care were found to be malnourished.

Tampa Police say they were alerted to the situation after finding two of the children walking along a busy road.

The children's mother, Jamie Hicks, 43, had called police to report two of her children missing on March 25.

Shortly after TPD issued an alert to local law enforcement, a citizen spotted the two boys, ages 10 and 13, walking on U.S. 41 at County Line Road.

During follow-up interviews, detectives determined that Hicks had been denying food to her two oldest boys. The boys suffered from malnourishment and are now hospitalized, according to TPD.

Investigators say that children in the home all gave consistent accounts of abuse at the hands of their mother. Children in the home were also forced to eat their own vomit, according to police.

Detectives arrested Hicks and the children's stepfather, Vernon Lovel, 53.

The eight children in the home were placed in foster care.

Hicks is charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse and two counts of child neglect.

Lovell is charged with two counts of child neglect.

Detectives are awaiting the results of medical tests to determine if the parents will face additional charges.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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