Malnourished Indiana teen suspect

Malnourished Indiana Teen Found In Padlocked Room May Not Survive

A malnourished Indiana teen was hospitalized after she was discovered living in a locked room in her grandfather’s home. The room was filled with feces and contained only a filthy mattress, blankets, a space heater, a bucket, and a bowl of oatmeal. There was blood on the floor. The malnourished Indiana teen was so emaciated that she weighed just 40 pounds, and her bones protruded from her flesh, according to a WTHITV News report.

The girl’s grandfather, 58-year-old Steve Sells, was reportedly placed under arrest and faces charges of neglect. His wife, Joetta Sells, was also arrested. She faces neglect and battery charges in the sad case of the malnourished 15-year-old Indiana teen, whose name has not been released. Her grandfather told authorities that the girl has a mental disability, which he described as a “chromosome problem in her brain which caused her disorder.”

Sells had custody of his granddaughter since the girl’s biological mother, Sells’s daughter, abandoned her in 2009. The man claimed the girl was locked in a room in the home because she once tried to attack him with a knife.

Stacy Rayford is the suspects’ neighbor. Although she lives just a few houses away from where the mentally disabled teen was kept behind a padlocked door, she had no idea what was going on inside the Forrest Terrace home.

Rayford spoke with WTHITV News about the tragic case.

“It’s very disgraceful. As a parent I couldn’t imagine. I mean, and had I known it was it going on, [police] would had gotten a call much sooner.”

A 4-year-old child was also living in the home shared by the suspects and their granddaughter. Indiana Department of Child Services has removed the child from the home, reported USA Today.

The unidentified girl remains at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, where she is being treated for severe malnutrition after being airlifted from another medical facility, St. Vincent Regional Hospital in Anderson. She is in critical condition, and doctors don’t know whether she will recover. If the malnourished Indiana teen does not survive, Steve and Joetta Sells could face additional charges, according to the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office.

[Image via the Madison County Jail]