- Some of Martha Crouch’s 15 children claim she forced them to watch as she boiled puppies inside their Cedar Hill house
- One of the daughters claimed Martha beat her until she had a miscarriage when she got pregnant at 14
- The family fled from at least four different states when authorities tried to conduct investigations into child abuse
In Farmington, New Mexico, details are still emerging following the arrest of 53-year-old Martha Crouch and her husband 57-year-old Timothy Crouch. The reasons for their arrest are truly disturbing and can only be described as a house of horrors for some of Martha’s 15 children.
An investigation from the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office found allegations that the children were not going to school, were not receiving a healthy amount of food and had been ordered to hide from social workers according to the Farmington Daily Times. The family allegedly moved several times with no warning when police or social workers tried to conduct an investigation.
The case has many dark turns, with allegations against Martha that include beating her 17-year-old daughter with a kitchen utensil, shooting the daughter’s dog and boiling multiple puppies in a large pot inside the family’s Cedar Hill residence while forcing multiple children to watch.
The investigation began after the SJCSO arrested one of the couple’s adult children for an assault with a deadly weapon charge. According to the Associated Press, detectives uncovered false allegations that two sons beat another brother to death and kidnapped a sister. During the investigation detectives heard claims of abuse, torture and extreme animal cruelty.
A House Of Horrors
According to court documents, one of the teen daughter’s older siblings took her from New Mexico to Arizona because the physical abuse had gotten so bad. The teen said after one of the family’s dogs had puppies, Martha “took the puppies and put them into a giant pot and boiled them, making all the kids watch.” Later that day another family dog named “Pip” was shot and killed by Martha. The parents claimed Pip was sick but the daughter claimed she knew he wasn’t. Pip was buried in the backyard to avoid getting caught by the fire department for having animals in the burn pit. Investigators did find the body of a dog buried in the backyard. The girl also claimed Martha had fed a kitten poison. After questioning why she was not allowed to go to school, Martha beat the teen with a cooking spatula.
Another daughter claimed when she got pregnant at the age of 14 Martha beat her until she had a miscarriage. A different daughter said she was forced to wear a “fat chain” for three years when the family lived in Alaska because Martha believed the girl was overweight. One of the sons claimed he had been “beaten, shot, stabbed and run over by his parents” and claims to still have “BBs” inside his arm from where Martha “shot him with a shotgun.” He said Martha took the kids to the Navajo Dam when investigators recently came to investigate allegations of educational neglect.
According to the children, they lived in multiple states over the years. Every time authorities tried to question the parents about abuse they packed up and fled to a new state. Deanna Taylor, an investigator with the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department is now having to go through hundreds of pages of reports from social service agencies in Alaska, Kansas, Missouri and Montana. At this time it is not clear what allegations were made in the previous states or if the agencies took action against the parents.
The couple’s adult son, 31-year-old Timothy Crouch was accused of pointing a gun at three of his brothers and threatening to shoot them. According to one of the brothers, the fight began because Crouch was allergic to beef and could not eat hot dogs. Crouch has gone on to defend his parents, telling KOB4 “My family are wonderful people. My mom and dad are some of the best people you’ll meet.”
A Family On The Run
On May 22, Timothy received a call from CYFD. An investigator from CYFD came to the their house later that day while the family hid at a neighbor’s residence. After CYFD tried to meet with the family, Martha and the children packed the car and drove to Durango, Colorado. The family spent a few days in Durango before Martha took the children to Navajo Dam to continue hiding from CYFD. Martha, Timothy and the children were finally located on June 1 at the Encore Motel in Farmington.
Martha faces charges including a third-degree felony count of child abuse, a fourth-degree felony count of extreme cruelty to animals and a misdemeanor count of obstruction of investigation of child abuse or neglect according to court records. Timothy faces one misdemeanor count of obstruction of investigation of child abuse or neglect. Both suspects are in custody in the San Juan County Adult Detention Center without bond. As of June 25, the four young children were in CYFD custody.