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A father and stepmother accused of withholding their 14-year-old daughter's food and water pleaded not guilty Monday to mistreating the girl, who weighed only 48 pounds when authorities removed her from the home.

The girl's father, Jon E. Pomeroy, 43, and stepmother, Rebecca A. Long, 44, each could face three to four years in prison if convicted of criminal mistreatment.

King County Superior Court Judge Cheryl Carey ordered the couple to avoid contact with the girl and her 12-year-old brother, who are both in foster care. The couple declined to comment afterward.

The couple was charged on Oct. 13, two months after the girl was removed from the home near Carnation, about 20 miles east of Seattle, by the state Department of Social and Health Services.

In court documents, a deputy sheriff described the girl as "extremely skinny and pale" and found she weighed only 48 pounds.

Court documents also said that doctors who evaluated the girl found that she was extremely malnourished and that she hadn't gained weight since she was 9.

The girl told investigators she was allowed about 6 ounces of water each day, and was monitored by Long to keep from drinking extra water. Pomeroy was aware of her treatment but did nothing to stop it, the girl said.

Long told police that she used the water restriction to punish her stepdaughter. The son was not similarly mistreated.

Both Long and Pomeroy had been released from the King County Jail after each posted $20,000 bond.


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