Police search for Penn. couple they say admitted waterboarding daughter, 12

Malisa Stevens, one of two people sought by police in Pennsylvania for allegedly waterboarding her 12-year-old daughter (CBS Pittsburgh)

ALIQUIPPA, Pa. (CBS News) — Police are searching for a Pennsylvania couple accused of waterboarding a 12-year-old girl, reports CBS Pittsburgh.

Malisa and Dion Stevens have been missing since May, when police issued warrants for their arrest. Weeks earlier, the 12-year-old girl — who the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports is their daughter — allegedly told a neighbor she was being punished with water in the basement of a home back in April.

“[She said they] would take her down into the basement and tie her to a chair and if she screamed, they shoved water down her throat,” the neighbor, who did not want to be identified, told CBS Pittsburgh.

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That neighbor called authorities who investigated and concluded that the the girl had been strapped to a chair with packing tape. Her hands were tied behind her back and rags were shoved into her mouth. Then, the girl said water was poured over her mouth to keep her from screaming and breathing.

Aliquippa Police Capt. Ryan Pudik said investigators spoke to the couple before issuing warrants in May, and they allegedly admitted using the simulated drowning technique considered torture by the United Nations.

“They acknowledged that they had waterboarded the victim to both the investigators from the Aliquippa Police and to Children and Youth Services of Beaver County,” Aliquippa Police Capt. Ryan Pudik said.

They told police they got the idea of waterboarding as a form of punishment from watching a movie, police said.

Malisa and Dion Stevens face a list of charges, including aggravated assault and reckless endangerment, but their whereabouts remain unknown, police said.

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