Woman Sentenced To 35 Years For Keeping 7 Special Needs Children - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

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Woman Sentenced To 35 Years For Keeping 7 Special Needs Children In Horrific Conditions

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RICHMOND, Texas -

A Houston-area woman has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for the mistreatment of seven special needs teenagers found in 2016 locked in a room strewn with human waste. Paula Sinclair, 55, was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to several counts of causing serious bodily injury to a child.

The teens found in the Richmond home ranged in age from 14 to 16 years old. Authorities say they were fed two daily meals of rice and beans and disciplined for things like making too much noise. 

After they were found in the filthy conditions, the children were treated for malnourishment, dehydration, bed bug bites and other issues. Investigators say they were fed only rice and beans twice a day since they were babies, CBS affiliate KHOU reports. One of the children suffers from Down Syndrome and was wearing a dirty diaper when he was removed from the home.    

According to KHOU, officials say the children were all adopted by Sinclair and her former husband when the children were toddlers, along with an eighth child, who died in 2011 while in her care.

Sinclair was arrested along with her husband, 79-year-old Allen Richardson, who is being held at the Fort Bend County jail on charges that include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The children were present in court for the plea, and three of them delivered statements to Sinclair after her sentencing.

"These children are our heroes," prosecutor Terese Buess said in a statement. "They took care of one another as best as they could under absolutely unimaginable circumstances. We all have so much to learn from their amazing spirits."

Sinclair will not be eligible for parole until she has served at least half of her sentence.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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