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Press Release

FBI Arrests El Paso Couple for Alleged Child Abuse

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

EL PASO, Texas – An El Paso couple was arrested for charges in a four-count federal indictment related to their alleged child abuse.

According to court documents, Cecilia Stepaniak, 34, and Coreydon Stepaniak, 34, from April 2019 to February 2024 allegedly engaged in conduct that placed a child under the age of 15 in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, and physical or mental impairment. The indictment alleges acts including falsely reporting to a medical care provider that the minor victim was removed from school for bullying elementary school children; dangerously restricting the minor’s food intake; hitting the minor victim with a cell phone charging cable; holding a sharp kitchen knife to the minor victim’s throat; kicking the minor victim while on the ground; locking the minor victim in a dark closet; confining the minor victim to the garage of their Fort Bliss residence; and forcing the minor victim to perform calisthenics exercises multiple times a day for extended periods of time.

Both defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit injury to a child, one count of injury to a child, one count of child endangerment, and one count of child abandonment.

If convicted, they each face up to five years in prison for the conspiracy charge; a minimum of 180 days up to two years for the injury to a child charge; and a minimum of two years to 20 years for the endangerment and abandonment charges. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas made the announcement.

The FBI and the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nallely Barbosa and Debra Kanof are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Updated June 26, 2024