An Australian couple was charged Thursday with murder and torture in the deaths of their 18-month-old twins, whose decomposing bodies were found by their older sister this week.
The mother, 30, and father, 28, who weren't identified, had initially been charged with neglect after the woman told police the twins had starved to death, but the prosecutor raised the charges during their court appearance.
The murder and torture charges carry potential life sentences.
Australians have been horrified by the deaths of the two children, who had been dead at least a week before police were called to the middle-class suburban home.
'I don't think I fed them enough'
The mother told the court she found the boy and girl dead last week, on Sunday or Monday, but did nothing about it, prosecutor Michelle Clark told the Brisbane Magistrates Court Tuesday.
The mother explained to police: "I don't think I fed them enough," Clark alleged.
The father's lawyer, Michael Cridland, told the court that his client had not been responsible for caring for the twins and had not seen them since Christmas.
The Department of Child Safety was unaware of the twins, and neighbors said they did not know the family had young toddlers.
The twins were reported dead late Monday after an 11-year-old sibling found them in a bedroom of the family home. They weighed as only as much as newborn babies: 9 pounds and 8 pounds.
The couple's surviving children — aged 3, 4, 5 and 11 — are being cared for by their grandmother. She told reporters Wednesday that the children were "very traumatized, but we are doing the best we can for them, just to know they are wanted and loved."