Texas Army Base Couple Indicted for Holding Knife to Child’s Throat and Starving Her

Federal charges say that a soldier and his wife at Fort Bliss held a knife to a child’s throat, didn’t feed her properly, and locked her in the garage of their home on the West Texas Army station.

The four-count indictment against Sgt. Coreydon Stepaniak and his wife Cecilia Stepaniak, both 34, go back almost five years and says they put the child’s life in danger. The child was only described by federal officials as a girl younger than 15 years old.

Based on records filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Stepaniak was arrested by the FBI on June 20 at Fort Irwin in California. His wife was also taken that same day in El Paso. They are accused of planning to hurt a child, hurting a child, putting a child in danger, and leaving a child behind.

The 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss stated that Coreydon Stepaniak is a mechanic for wheeled vehicles and that he joined the Army for the first time in April 2011. On Friday, Magistrate Judge Robert Castaneda will hold an arraignment hearing at the federal building in El Paso.

They could each spend up to five years in jail if found guilty of the conspiracy charge, at least 180 days to two years for hurting a child, and at least two years to twenty years for endangering and abandoning a child.

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Court papers say that the victim’s legal guardian, Cecilia Stepaniak, went to see the child’s doctor on April 3, 2019, and lied to the doctor, saying that the child was “lying and out of control” and needed to be taken out of elementary school for bullying other kids. It was also said by her that she had cameras in her house in case the child tried to lie to someone that they were being abused at home.

The child was locked in a dark room at Fort Bliss on February 17, 2023, for an unknown length of time. The couple is also accused of this. Then Coreydon Stepaniak opened the closet door, yelled bad words, and threatened to hurt the child. The couple would make the child live and sleep in a garage that didn’t have heat or air conditioning and where she had to use a bucket as a toilet.

They also made her work out several times a day for long amounts of time. Two lawyers who were named for Cecilia Stepaniak’s federal case did not answer a request for comment. There were no lawyers found for Coreydon Stepaniak.

The FBI and the Army Criminal Investigation Division both refused to give more details about the case, such as how many children lived in the home or the child’s exact age and health.

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