PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The mother accused of locking up her 6-year-old twins and nearly starving them was sentenced Friday in court.

Roxanne Taylor, 26, was sentenced to 14 to 50 years for aggravated assault, unlawful restraint and endangering the welfare of her own children.

She was teary eyed as she explained to Judge Katherine Emery that she’s worked on her GED classes in jail and hopes one day to contribute to society and get a job.

But that’s a very different lifestyle than when her 6-year-old son was found wandering along a street on a chilly morning having escaped a locked room by crawling out a window.

He and his twin sister were housed in that room, next to a potty overflowing with feces. He weighed just over 30 pounds. Neither child was enrolled in school.

“They were malnourished, they were covered in feces, they were kept in a room that we wouldn’t keep a prisoner in,” says Washington County Deputy District Attorney Traci McDonald.

At trial, Taylor told the jury she locked the door to the room because she was a heavy sleeper and the children tended to wander. The jury was not convinced and neither was the judge at sentencing.

Judge Katherine Emery told her: “This is one of the worst cases I’ve ever presided over. As a parent you have an obligation to love, protect and support your kids. You treated them like you cared for your dogs. Weighing 35 pounds is serious bodily injury.”

After sentencing, prosecutor McDonald said, “This is not a circumstance where you have a parent that made a mistake or a parent that was just not knowledgeable. Here you have a situation where you have a pattern and a history of a mother who has been taught time and time again by caregivers and providers, by parenting coaches and by people in the system how to care for their children. Most of us as parents never have that opportunity.”

Taylor lost her parental rights. The children are under the supervision of Washington County Children and Youth Services.

The children’s father, Edward Buckholz, is scheduled to be sentenced later this month.

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