PERRIS, Calif. - It started with a dead body on the front yard of a Southern California home.
When detectives investigating that unsolved July homicide went with a search warrant this month, they said they discovered something even more shocking inside: seven adopted children who recounted incidents of sexual abuse and beatings -- all living in a home that had been converted into a strip club.
Court documents called the pricey, two-story, terra-cotta-style home in the city of Perris "Exotic Zone."
The lower level, authorities said, had been converted into a strip club with a platform, a dancing pole and a private room.
Five ecstasy pills lay on a kitchen counter within easy reach of the children, they said.
The kids, ages 6 to 11, told child protection workers they had seen parties at the converted strip club that stretched into dawn.
They said they were beaten with sticks, belts and a metal cane. They were locked in their bedrooms without food -- and threatened with a stun gun, authorities said.
A 7-year-old girl told authorities she was sexually abused on a bathroom floor. Several of the children said they saw it happen.
Police have arrested the home owners Gregory Bernard Lacy, 60, and LaQuron Lacy, 43. They will be arraigned later this month on multiple counts of child abuse.
Meanwhile, the homicide that spurred the discovery remains unsolved.
And Riverside County court documents do not say who is now taking care of the scarred children. Children, who despite the alleged beatings and the sexual abuse, told police they called the couple 'mom' and 'dad.'