Kings County woman faces felony child abuse


Neighbors along the quiet rural street south of Hanford say they often heard screams coming from the yellow house.

Many say they called Child Protective Services and law enforcement but each time there was never enough evidence to take the four adopted children, ages 12 through 16 -- out of Kelly Morris' home. Finally, Yvonne Garza says this week -- one child came running to her house for help. Her sister had been severely beaten. This time, there was evidence.

Deputies say the four children include three girls and a boy who are all siblings. They were adopted by 50-year-old Kelly Morris seven years ago. Investigators believe the convalescent home nurse had been brutally abusing and torturing the children for years. The oldest male child told deputies his punishment when he wouldn't properly clean out a water trough for the family's goats.

Dave Putnam told Action News, "She held his head under water in the trough for a certain period of time and held him under the water for 30 seconds or more and then pulled his head out and did this 3 or 4 times."

Deputies arrested Morris on four counts of felony child abuse, two counts of torture and one count of assault with a deadly weapon. They're calling this an extreme and unusual case of child abuse.

Kings County investigators are still questioning Morris' husband in this case to see how much he knew about the abuse and whether he could have stepped in sooner to help the children.

The children are now in child protective custody.

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