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Buncombe County couple charged with abusing adopted child

Crystal and Ralph Burrell are charged with abusing their adoptive child. (Buncombe County Detention Center)

Crystal and Ralph Burrell are charged with abusing their adopted child.

A criminal warrant released after both were arrested Thursday states the child was "denied food," appeared "emaciated" and "wasn't allowed to eat during the holidays because the child was being punished."

“It gets me furious,” said neighbor Mindy Haigh who read the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office report. “We weren’t aware of it.”

A social worker who interviewed the couple’s adopted child said the child said she was “denied food when she misbehaved." The child said she was forced to take a cold shower with her soiled clothing on and made to sleep in wet clothes.

“I hurt for the child,” Haigh said. “I did know that Crystal had a hard time dealing with a child.”

Neighbors said Crystal Burrell, 33, was back at the family's home Thursday afternoon. Neighbors said Ralph Burrell,35, hasn't been seen. Both were arrested Thursday afternoon.

Investigators said the couple received financial incentives to adopt the child and were reading blogs for lessons on childcare.

Warrants stated the child was forced to sleep on a table in an unheated room when she soiled herself.

“And they got money,” said Haigh. “To hurt a child.”

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