Sheriff: Mom abused her children, boiled puppies to death

In this photo illustration water comes to the boil on a gas stove on January 8. 2009, in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

A New Mexico woman is facing charges she beat and tortured her children and forced them to watch her kill their pets.

Martha and her husband Timothy Crouch of Aztec, New Mexico, were arrested Monday. Court records show they have not been assign public defenders yet. Documents also say they had prior complaints in Missouri, Alaska, Kansas and Montana.

The investigation began after a San Juan County sheriff's deputy arrested an adult child of the Crouches on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

Court documents say one daughter told authorities stories of physical and emotional abuse. She said her mother boiled puppies and poisoned a kitten as punishment.

Martha Crouch was charged with child abuse and extreme cruelty to animals. Timothy Crouch is facing an obstruction charge.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.