The Palmdale woman accused of torturing her adopted son and daughter will stand trial, a judge decided Tuesday.
Ingrid Brewer is accused of abusing and torturing her two adopted children, a 7-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy.
LA County Sheriff’s investigators testified on Tuesday that Brewer zip-tied the children’s wrists, beat them with a plastic jump rope, and locked them in separate rooms while she was away – sometimes for as long as 12 hours.
Alan Coleman, the biological father of the youngest victim, broke down in tears when he heard the testimony describing how his daughter and her brother had been allegedly forced to live.
"It just really hurts my heart," Coleman told NBC4.
In January, the children were able to run away. Investigators said the boy broke out of his bedroom and helped his sister escape. Brewer reported the pair missing.
They were found huddled in the cold, a few blocks from their home in Palmdale.
"They had a blanket over them, they were wearing light clothing, they didn’t have any shoes on," Sheriff’s Detective Anthony Meyers testified.
Prosecutors painted a picture of a tortuous mother who was allowed to keep fostering children after multiple allegations of abuse.
"It was hard to distinguish one injury from another. He was covered in scars," Sheriff’s Detective Troy Browser said, referring to the 8-year-old boy.
Brewer has pleaded not guilty to two counts each of child abuse and torture. On Tuesday, her defense team claimed the kids are in psychiatric care for a history of elaborate lies.
Coleman told NBC4 he hopes to eventually obtain custody of both his daughter and her brother, adding that he is grateful to the boy for making the decision to save his sister.
Brewer returns to court on March 19 for pretrial motions.
The private agency that facilitated the children's adoption said it was cooperating with the county Department of Children and Family Services.
DCFS has a 24-hour child abuse hotline that it urges victims or witnesses to call: 800-540-4000. To find out more about foster care and adoption, call 888-811-1121.