updated 10/14/2008 3:31:28 PM ET 2008-10-14T19:31:28

A father and stepmother in Washington state are accused of withholding food and water from their 14-year-old daughter.

Authorities said the treatment was so severe, the girl weighed just 48 pounds.

Prosecutors said Jon Pomeroy and his wife, Rebecca Long, could face as much as four years in prison if convicted of criminal mistreatment. They're free on bail.

The girl was removed from the family home east of Seattle in August after a neighbor called child welfare authorities.

Prosecutors said the mother told a deputy that she considered the girl to have behavior problems and that she restricted the girl's water as discipline.

The girl told authorities she was given mostly toast to eat, and only about 6 ounces of water a day. She said her stepmother even watched when she brushed her teeth to make sure she didn't drink extra water.

Court papers said she suffered severe malnutrition and dehydration, and spent two weeks at a Seattle hospital. Prosecutors say she's now in foster care and has gained more than 20 pounds.

King County sheriff's spokesman John Urquhart said the parents took better care of their pet dogs than their 12-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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