Couple obsessed with World of Warcraft get prison for child neglect

A couple described as obsessed with the World of Warcraft online game were sentenced to prison for neglecting two young girls in their care. Above, a World of Warcraft game area at a convention in Anaheim in 2009.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Lester and Petra Huffmire’s deep obsession with the online computer game World of Warcraft led them to abandon the real world, including two young girls left in their care, prosecutors say.

The girls, 5 and 10 years old, were virtually ignored and forced to live in squalor inside a mobile home in Anaheim, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office. Authorities haven’t specified the girls’ relationship to the couple.

When the girls were finally rescued, their hair was matted, their teeth were “damaged beyond repair” and their feet were crusted with dirt, prosecutors said.


The couple, Lester and Petra Huffmire, both 41, pleaded guilty last week to child abuse, false imprisonment and delinquency charges. Lester Huffmire was sentenced to five years in prison, while Petra Huffmire was ordered to serve three years and four months in prison.

Prosecutors said the unemployed couple played the online game all day as the girls were forced to live in “unsanitary and uninhabitable” conditions inside a mobile home from May 2010 to May 2013.

Investigators found kitchen appliances “covered in mold and cobwebs,” stacks of trash, debris, mold, and feces throughout the home, a pile of used condoms under a stuffed teddy bear, and inoperable toilets, prosecutors said.

The girls were not allowed out of the home and did not attend school.

After years of abuse, a neighbor called police, who found the malnourished girls.

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