Former Kauai man at center of ‘sickening’ child torture case in South Carolina

Former Kauai man at center of ‘sickening’ child torture case in South Carolina
Robert Earl Kailiala Saladaga, and his girlfriend, Irene Emerick, are at the center of a child torture case. (Image: Greenville police)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A former Kauai man is at the center of a child torture case that South Carolina authorities have called “sickening.”

Greenville Police Department officials CBS affiliate WSPA that 37-year-old Robert Earl Kailiala Saladaga allegedly punished his girlfriend’s 5- and 7-year-old sons by rubbing hot sauce on their eyes and mouths, making them vomit.

He also allegedly beat both children, rubbed peppers on one of the boy’s genitals, shot the 7-year-old in the foot with a BB gun, and repeatedly smothered the younger boy with a pillow until he couldn’t breathe.

Their mother, Sabrina Emerick, allegedly did the same thing with a pillow.

The two have been charged with cruelty to children. Both boys are now with other family members.

Investigators say the scope of abuse the boys endured is hard to fathom.

“It’s unconscionable," said Greenville police Lt. Jason Rampey. "It’s difficult, especially dealing with children, when it’s time to conduct interviews and trying to rely upon information they’re providing but we take it seriously.”

Saladaga graduated from Kauai High School in 2000.

The couple are out on bond as they await prosecution.

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