The preteen’s weight dropped to 58 pounds as her father and stepmother inflicted horrific beatings and locked her in a bedroom without food or water for 20 months, authorities charge.
The home of Rajesh and Sheetal Ranot, who remain behind bars after being charged with assault and child endangerment. Authorities say they starved and viciously assaulted 12-year-old daughter Maya.
A vicious Queens couple savagely beat, kicked, tortured and starved their 12-year-old daughter — until the gutsy little girl finally dimed out the depraved duo, officials said.
Helpless Maya Ranot — her weight down to a skeletal 58 pounds as the relentless violence escalated — survived to spill the gory details of the house of horrors where she was tormented for nearly three years.
Dad Rajesh Ranot, 46, and stepmom Sheetal Ranot, 31, of Ozone Park, were behind bars Tuesday after their arraignments last week on multiple charges of assault and child endangerment.
“Thank God,” said one of Rajesh Ranot’s former in-laws. “It’s about time they locked him up. Everyone is afraid of him . . . . How could he do this to his own daughter?”
Heroic Maya was beaten with everything from a rolling pin to a baseball bat to a broken metal broom handle — but never said a word because she feared her four step-siblings would be sent to foster care, officials said.
“Fortunately, she found the courage to speak up,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “It is not too hard to imagine that this case would have ended in the child’s death.”
Neighbors described Rajesh Ranot, who lived in the area for the last 10 years, as a volatile cab driver with a foul temper and a mean streak.
“He was the kind of guy who would be your friend and smack you at the same time,” said a 51-year-old neighbor who gave his name as Trinny. “You could not trust him.”
Local residents recounted seeing skinny little seventh-grader Maya playing near the family’s residence, with no signs of her family or any friends.
“I feel terrible for her,” said neighbor Annette Persaud, the mother of two boys.
The investigation began after EMTs called to the family home above a garage in Ozone Park found Maya lying in a pool of blood from a gash deep enough to reveal the bone on her left wrist.
Authorities say stepmom Sheetal opened the deep laceration by slashing the girl with the jagged end of a broken metal broom handle on May 6. The bleeding child, dressed in filthy clothes, was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital for wrist surgery and stitches to her knee after the attack.
Doctors discovered Maya’s body was covered with an assortment of bruises, healing cuts and scars, officials said. She was wearing dirty clothes and frightfully underweight.
City officials quickly removed the little girl from her parents’ red home with rusting iron bars on its windows and moved her in with a relative.
As Maya began recovering from the attacks that began four days before Christmas 2012, she mustered the courage to detail exactly what went on inside the home. The relative went to city officials, and city detectives launched an investigation. The city’s Administration for Children’s Services moved against the couple in Family Court.
Stepmom Sheetal Ranot was accused of repeatedly kicking the girl in her face in the pre-Christmas attack. On April 16, 2014, she allegedly bashed the youngster in the face with a wooden rolling pin.
The father was charged with repeatedly forcing his daughter to take cold showers while he beat her with his hands and other objects, including a belt and a baseball bat.
The demented dad would also lock her inside her bedroom without food or water “for extended periods of time” in between beatings, authorities charged. On March 31, 2014, he allegedly smacked the girl in the head with a baseball bat — the first of repeated attacks that continued through the next two months.
The stepmother, who has no previous local arrests, faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of first-degree assault. The evil dad, with a pair of sealed arrests on his record, faces up to seven years behind bars if convicted of the second-and-third-degree assault charges.
“I’m glad that he’s caught,” said Ranot’s former in-law. “I’m relieved for the little girl.”
With Thomas Tracy