by Yasmeen Hassan

EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) — An El Dorado County woman has been accused of torturing her children for years. Prosecutors say Patricia Taylor would foster, adopt, and torture children.

Patricia Taylor in court Monday.

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The alleged torture happened just feet away from neighbors who say they had no idea children may have been tortured right under their nose.

Kimberley Schonlank says she knew one of the girls Taylor was fostering and could tell could something was off.

“As soon as Patricia was around [her daughter would] get real reserved. She wouldn’t want to talk,” Schonlank said.

Even though she knew something was strange, Schonlank says she had no idea what was happening behind closed doors.

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Prosecutors said the vulnerable children were fostered and adopted only to be tortured and forced into a house of horrors. Deputies say, after years of abuse, Taylor’s 14-year-old daughter managed to escape, telling them she’s been living in fear.

They say Taylor’s other daughters had the same stories.

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Prosecutors say Taylor would shut the blinds, tarp up the windows, and isolate the children. All alone in the dark, they were forced to endure constant torture.

The attorney described Taylor’s home as a “horrific place for children to be,” basically turning her house into a pitch-black torture chamber.

According to attorneys, Taylor would duct tape the children to beds, beat their heads into the wall, smear feces in their faces. They say she was spanking them with forks and threatening them with a machete.

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When deputies went to check on Taylor’s other daughters, they say all three were covered in their own waste. They say cat urine and feces were everywhere.

Deputies said the case is so horrific, it’s taking a toll on the department.  Even though they are trained professionals, they are still affected.

“It is hard to deal with the worst of worst someone’s going through and to try and be there for them and be the support for them and help them,” said El Dorado County Sheriff’s Sgt. Anthony Prencipe.

CBS13 did speak with Taylor’s husband Monday. He said these accusations are all lives, and they are going to fight this in court.

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Taylor has been charged with torture, child abuse likely to cause serious injury or death, false imprisonment, willful cruelty to a child, and lewd and lascivious conduct of a child under the age of 14.