Chester, Pennsylvania – A Pennsylvania woman accused of sexually abusing and torturing four children under the age of 13 over a two-year period has been arrested on more than 200 criminal counts.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer announced the arrest of 19-year-old Anais Munoz on Jan. 24, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“This is a truly horrifying case involving the physical and mental torture of young victims,” Stollsteimer said, according to FOX News. “Using a wide range of implements, the defendant sought to inflict physical pain on these children – whether by choking them with cords, beating them with a bat, or ‘branding’ them with a straightening iron.”
The prosecutor said the four victims range in age from seven to 13, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The investigation into Munoz began earlier in January after police received a report that child abuse was occurring at a local residence.
During the course of the investigation, police spoke with the victims at Children’s Advocacy Center in Media and the children were also examined by a child abuse pediatrician, according to the Media Patch.
Police discovered Munoz moved into the family’s home in February of 2020 and that the alleged abuse began later that year, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The children disclosed a pattern of sexual assault and torture during interviews with investigators, according to police.
Stollsteimer said Munoz used a hair-straightening iron to burn the two oldest victims on their genital areas, thighs, and buttocks, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
She allegedly used a variety of instruments – including a hanger, a torch, cords, knives, a lighter, and a hammer – to abuse all four of the victims over the course of a two-year-period.
“Using these implements of torture, the defendant sought to control her young victims – both to keep them from revealing her heinous conduct and to get their cooperation in providing her with sexual pleasure,” the prosecutor said, according to the Media Patch.
The children allegedly told investigators Munoz threatened to do even more harm if they told their mother, so they stayed silent about what was occurring, according to Stollsteimer.
According to court documents, the victims were so terrified of Munoz, they would lie to their mother about how their visible injuries occurred, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Munoz also allegedly told the children at times that she was “switching bodies” and that different personalities were taking control of her, according to Stollsteimer.
The suspect allegedly forced the two oldest victims into providing her sexual pleasure, which the other two children witnessed, FOX News reported.
Stollsteimer said the children told police the suspect forced them to take drugs at times, and that she would make them go buy drugs for her, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Munoz has been charged with more than 200 counts, including rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, child endangerment, sexual assault, and strangulation, among others, according to the Daily Voice Pascack Valley.
She was apprehended in New Jersey and was booked into the Passaic County Jail pending her extradition back to Pennsylvania, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“These children will bear the physical and emotional scars of the defendant’s conduct for the rest of their lives,” Stollsteimer said while announcing Munoz’s arrest. “Sadly, we can’t undo this tragedy, but rest assured that we will do everything in our power to support these victims and to hold the defendant accountable.”
Stollsteimer lauded the collaborative efforts of the Chester Police Department, the Delaware County Child Abuse and Exploitation Task Force, Dr. June Elcock-Messam, and the Children’s Advocacy Center for their work on the case, the Media Patch reported.