ONSLOW COUNTY -

The Onslow County Sheriff's Department locked up a couple deputies said abused their children to the point of torture.

The husband and wife have been charged with several child abuse crimes involving five children. The abuse was initially reported to the Department of Social Services by the biological father of three those children.

Investigators said Larry W. Anderson and Janet Lynn Anderson used "torture-type methods to discipline their five children." They are also charged with restricting the children from getting the food they needed to maintain health and nutrition.

They are accused of locking their children in their rooms, duct-taping their mouths shut, tying them to chairs, and leaving them unable to bathe. It nearly killed their youngest child, authorities said.

"If that child had been allowed to go on another week under those circumstances, the child probably would have died," Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown said.

The Andersons, who live in Hubert, face six charges of misdemeanor child abuse, three counts of contributing to juvenile abuse and neglect, and two counts each of felony child abuse.

Officers say the crimes happened between August 2010 and July 26, 2011.

The Andersons were put in the Onslow County Jail. The five children are now in the custody of the Onslow County DSS.

"I was just really shocked, because I didn't see them as that way, I just didn't see that," said a neighbor of the Andersons, who wants to remain anonymous.

The woman said they are nice people and she'd seen the children a few months ago.

"I went over to the house and everything looked fine and I didn't see anything, kids, as far as being bruised or starved," the neighbor said.

Brown expects there's a trial in the future for the Andersons, but what happens to the children remains a question unanswered.

"I do believe that there is going to be some prints of that abuse in their minds for a long time," Brown said.

"They were normal, happy, rambunctious type children," their neighbor said.