SAN ANTONIO – A mother and owner of a northwest side day care was sentenced to 30 years in prison Friday in a child abuse case stemming from 2012.
That year, Iliana Archuleta’s 8-year-old son was taken to a hospital after suffering a seizure.
Hospital staff reported signs of abuse to authorities, prompting a larger investigation.
That investigation revealed that Archuleta’s three adopted children, 10-year-old twins- a boy and a girl- and the 8-year-old boy, were malnourished.
Investigators interviewed the girl who told them she and her brothers were forced to sleep in a bathtub and were beaten.
According to an affidavit, the children were rarely allowed to eat, but were forced to eat a stick of butter if they misbehaved.
The children were also forced to bite each other when a sibling acted up and one of the children lost part of her left ear during a biting incident, according to investigators.
Archuleta apologized to the court Friday and admitted that she was neglectful but she believes the abuse and torture alleged by the prosecution was exaggerated.
“Thirty years is a lot. Twenty years is a lot for something that, I feel, happened just when I wasn’t even noticing,” she told the judge. “I was just in pain, running a business.”
Archuleta’s then-husband, Tim Archuleta, and brother-in-law Rogelio Archuleta were also arrested in connection to the child abuse case.
Tim Archuleta pleaded no contest in January to charges of injury to a child causing serious bodily injury by omission.
During Iliana Archuleta’s sentencing, the prosecution pointed out that her biological children were at a healthy weight, if not overweight, while bones could be seem protruding from her adopted children.
A Child Protective Services worker said Friday that 30 years in prison was not enough for Archuleta and that the Archuleta family received roughly $91,000 in state funding after adopting the three children who were the victims of abuse.
Another case worker testified Friday that the abused children are now in foster care and seem to be excelling in school.