Mom blames boy's difficult behavior for extreme weight loss

Mom blames boy's difficult behavior for extreme weight loss »Play Video
Rebecca Trebilcock testifies in her own defense Thursday. She and her husband, Jeff, are accused of starving their adopted children.

KELSO, Wash. - The Longview, Wash. mother accused of starving her adopted children lashed out at law enforcement Thursday while testifying in her own defense in a Cowlitz County courtroom.

"You guys stole my children from me," said Rebecca Trebilcock who, along with her husband, Jeff, faces criminal mistreatment charges after being arrested in March 2011.

During her testimony, Rebecca Trebilcock tried to paint her son as a difficult child. Throughout the trial the defense tried to turn the blame on the 13-year-old for why he only weighed as much as a 6-year-old. His mother continued the defense theme, saying the boy had odd behavior and wasn't truthful.

Trebilcock said her attitudes about food weren't to blame. She also said her religious beliefs inspired her to adopt a mostly vegetarian lifestyle for her family and admitted she traveled to Mexico for weight-loss surgery.

She said she cooked ample food for her five adopted kids, but the 13-year-old boy often refused to eat or stole dog food to eat instead of people food. And she said a motion detector in the kitchen wasn't meant to keep him from stealing food in the middle of the night.

"It could keep (him) from getting out of the house," she said.

Trebilcock said she had no idea why the boy would sneak out or what he was doing. She and her husband broke down in tears when her lawyer showed a video of the Trebilcocks and their four adopted daughters during a state supervised visit after the couple's arrest.

The video shows them as an affectionate family with the girls telling the Trebilcocks they love them, but one of the girls testified she didn't know the way the Trebilcocks treated her was wrong until she experienced another way of life in foster care.

Rebecca Trebilcock lashed out at the prosecutor when he asked her about her emotional response at seeing the girls' pictures.

"Because that's all I have left of my daughters: You guys stole my children from me," she said.

Jeff Trebilcock tearfully testified in his own defense the day before, saying that he and his wife would wake up in the middle of the night to find the 13-year-old standing over them. He said the motion detector and gate were installed inside the home to keep the boy from wandering around the house at night.

The case was placed in the hands of the judge at the end of the day. If he finds the couple guilty, according to Washington sentencing guidelines, the Trebilcocks face four to 5 ½ years in prison on the most serious charge of first-degree criminal mistreatment of their son.

The second-degree charges for their daughters carry likely sentences of six to 12 months.

The judge said he will issue his ruling Tuesday at 1 p.m.