Three people have been arrested on child abuse-related charges in Cape May County.

Charges Filed

Prosecutors say 71-year-old Irene Becica, 57-year-old Thomas Becica, and 45-year-old Christina VonColln, all of Cape May Court House, have been charged with the following:

  • 5 counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child
  • 5 counts of second-degree conspiracy
  • 5 counts of third-degree aggravated assault
  • Fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon
  • Third-degree possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose

5 Girls

The arrests are the result of an investigation conducted by the Middle Township Police Department and Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit concerning the abuse of five girls, all family members, who are 9, 12, 13, 14, and 15 years old.

Officials did not initially release any detailed information as to the extent of the alleged child abuse, however, Townsquare Media filed an open public records act, and documents that we received indicated back scratchers, paddles, belts, and fly swatters were allegedly used to physically abuse the children over several years. Those items were reportedly found in the home.

Additionally, one girl was allegedly burned with a lighter and the three adults also "gave the juveniles increased doses [of] medication" which resulted in them being in a "zombie and ghost like state," according to documents.

Search Warrant Executed

On December 8th, authorities executed a search warrant at their home on Goshen Road in Middle Township.

Goshen Road in Middle Township NJ - Photo: Google Maps
Goshen Road in Middle Township NJ - Photo: Google Maps

The 12 and 15-year-olds still lived at the home; the 15-year-old had run away. The other three children had previously been removed from the dwelling.

Court Proceedings

Since the arrest, all three individuals have had detention hearings through the Cape May County Superior Court.

Thomas Becica was released pending court proceedings. Irene Becica and Christina VonColln were detained and will remain at the Cape May County Correctional Center.

On-going Investigation

Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland says this is an ongoing investigation and anyone who may have additional information about this case is asked to call (609) 465-1135.

Those convicted of second-degree crimes face five to 10 years in state prison while a third-degree crime carries three to five years behind bars.

The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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