updated 1/27/2006 6:59:27 PM ET 2006-01-27T23:59:27

A pregnant woman has been taken into custody after three of her 14 children, showing signs of abuse, were found taking refuge in an abandoned house, police said Friday.

“The kids told us that the suspect regularly punches them with her fists and hits them with a broomstick and belt,” police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said.

Two 9-year-old twin boys and a 6-year-old boy were found Thursday night with scars and bruising to their backs and faces, she said. The abandoned house did not have heat, water or electricity, and the floor was littered with feces and garbage, Schwartz said.

“It’s apparent the children have been going there for a while,” she said.

Schwartz said the woman, 35, is pregnant and has 14 children, ages 3 to 20. The six oldest children had previously been removed from her custody by child welfare officials, and the remaining children were removed Thursday, authorities said.

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