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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 February, 2005, 02:25 GMT
'Child torture' couple arrested
Linda and John Dollar (Photo: AP/Citrus County Sheriff's Department)
The Dollars went missing on Monday
US police have arrested a Florida couple who went on the run after they were accused of torturing five children in their care.

John and Linda Dollar were arrested in the state of Utah on Friday night, said a spokeswoman for the sheriff's office in Citrus County, Florida.

The pair are wanted on charges of aggravated child abuse.

They are accused of torturing the children with hammers and pliers and subjecting them to electric shocks.

The alleged abuse came to light when one of the children was taken to hospital with injuries to his head and neck.

The five children, aged between 12 and 17, along with two others who did not appear to have been abused, are now in the care of child welfare officials.

Linda Dollar, 51, and John Dollar, 58, were arrested near Salt lake City after detectives in Florida were able to track their mobile phone usage.

Malnourished

Officials said they began investigating the case after a 16-year-old boy arrived at the local medical centre by ambulance on 21 January with red marks around his neck and a cut on his head.

The boy's malnourished condition alarmed doctors, who alerted the authorities.

After the children were removed from the Dollars' house, they described how the Dollars had starved them, pulled out their toenails with pliers and struck their feet with hammers, among other abuses.

The Dollars had been responsible for the care of the children for several years, but were not their biological or foster parents, the authorities said.

They gave no further details of the couple's relationship with the children for reasons of privacy.

The children did not attend school and were kept out of sight most of the time, with neighbours unaware that any children lived at the house.

The Dollars were due to appear before officials at the Department of Children and Families on Monday, but failed to turn up, Citrus County Sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Tierney said.



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