Phoenix-area man, woman accused of waterboarding child, lighting her on fire

Wimbish and Sergent were each booked on one count of child abuse.
Wimbish and Sergent were each booked on one count of child abuse.(MCSO)
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 4:58 PM MST
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Warning: Some details in the story may be graphic to readers.

GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Phoenix-area man and a woman are each facing a felony charge in an extreme case of child abuse. Court paperwork says that on Dec. 10, child welfare investigators took a girl away from 39-year-old Keola Wimbish and 26-year-old Chloe Sergent in the area of 32nd Street and Thomas Road. On Tuesday, the pair were arrested in Glendale.

According to court documents, the child told investigators Wimbish waterboarded her using a bucket and set her on fire by pouring alcohol on her while they were staying at another family member’s home. The girl also told police Wimbish had sexually abused her, hit her with multiple weapons, and burned her with a metal straw. The girl told police the abuse began when Wimbish had his ankle monitor removed and the abuse continued until she was taken out of the home.

Court paperwork details the girl telling police Wimbish and Sergent forced her to lie about who hurt her. The victim told police Sergent broke her nose and burned her leg, and the two forced her to do drugs from a straw, according to investigators. Court documents state Wimbish also had another child in the home hit the girl. The other child told police he had seen Wimbish and Sergent punch the victim in the face.

After the girl was rescued in December, she was taken to the hospital, where doctors said she had 12 broken bones, a deep cut that showed her shinbone, and multiple other cuts, bruises, and burns. According to court documents, some of the child’s injuries were also infected due to lack of care. Doctors also said she was malnourished.

During an interview, the girl said that another family member would also hit her several times with a crowbar and strike her with a machete “in multiple areas of her body.” When police interviewed the family member, he told officers he had never abused the girl, but he had seen Wimbish and Sergent hit the girl between November and December, according to court documents. A different family member was interviewed by police, who said she had seen the child with her legs always bandaged and said she had walked “hunched over.” She also told police she had never seen Wimbish and Sergent feed the child.

According to court documents, Wimbish told police he didn’t know about the child’s injuries and said he knew the child had been burned but didn’t ask about it. Wimbish also admitted to officers he should have noticed the child’s injuries. According to court paperwork, Wimbish couldn’t explain how the child got injured or why she did not go to a hospital. In an interview with police, Sergent told officers she did not know how the child got hurt. Wimbish and Sergent were each booked on one count of child abuse.

Editor’s Note: Arizona’s Family has chosen to not disclose the relationships or the girl’s age to protect the victim.