Hillsboro woman sentenced to prison time for torturing, abusing 3 children

Booking photo for Merlinda Avalos from the Washington County Jail.

HILLSBORO, Ore. – A woman was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for torturing three young children, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said.

Merlinda Avalos pleaded guilty to six counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment back in January for neglecting and abusing three family members – 12, 10, and 9 years old.

According to Hillsboro Police, Avalos “administered physical beatings, used sleep deprivation as a form of punishment, fed them minimal amounts of food and forced them to use jugs to urinate in rather than giving them access to a proper bathroom.”

The investigation began in April 2018 when one of the children told a school counselor about the abuse.

The counselor was at Wednesday’s sentencing. She “fought back tears” while describing the children coming to school in soiled clothing, the district attorney’s office said.

Detectives said Avalos and her husband were trying to destroy evidence when they were first confronted with the allegations of abuse.

In addition to her 151 months of prison time, Avalos must pay more than $20,000 to the children, over $6,000 in restitution, and was ordered to not have contact with the minors (other than her son) when she is released.

She will also have three years’ post-prison supervision.

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