Mexico man accused of locking up, abusing girls for 7 years

MEXICO CITY Tue Sep 6, 2011 11:56pm EDT

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A Mexico City man was arrested on Tuesday accused of imprisoning and abusing two teenage girls for seven years, fathering five children with them and beating one to death along with one of her babies.

The gruesome news story shocked Mexicans already pummeled by daily images of drug cartel violence.

Jorge Iniestra, 32, a part-time taxi driver started a relationship with a school worker in 2004 but soon fixated on her two young daughters, authorities said.

He pulled the girls out of school and blocked them from going outside, eventually locking them in a single, filthy room in his mother's house.

"He kept them totally hidden with the windows covered with wooden planks," Mexico City's attorney general Miguel Mancera said at a news conference.

"The conditions were absolutely horrible in the room where he kept the girls. They had to use the bathroom there and their brother had to clean everything up by hand," Mancera said.

Iniestra had five children with the girls and forced their younger brother to work collecting cardboard and selling candies outside the school, beating him with a belt or tying him up naked if he did not bring back enough money.

Prosecutors say Iniestra beat one of the girls to death and then smothered a three-month-old baby they had together, leaving the bodies for more than a month in the fetid room.

With the help of his brother, Iniestra eventually dumped the bodies on a highway, they said.

Police arrested Iniestra's mother and his brothers and sisters, along the girls' mother, Clara Tapia, for covering up the abuse and making sure the girls did not escape.

Although the city's attorney general's office said Tapia was so terrorized that she turned over her entire savings and debit card to Iniestra, she eventually lodged a complaint with police that led to the children's rescue.

The youngest surviving child, a three-month-old baby, was taken to the hospital with blunt head trauma from Iniestra's beatings. The other victims, a now 21-year-old girl and three young children -- two, four and five years old -- were sent to protective custody.

Mancera said Tapia and her daughters were suffering from "Stockholm Syndrome," when captives identify with their kidnappers, because they defended Iniestra's behavior when questioned by prosecutors.

(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

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