An anonymous tip led investigators to discover the hellish existence of a 13-year-old Brookfield, Wisconsin, girl who was locked in a cold basement with no toilet or sink. The girl was often covered in her own feces, was forced to wear dirty diapers, and was not allowed upstairs to use furniture with the rest of the family, according to the Associated Press. She wasn’t allowed to shower or brush her teeth. A video link to pictures of the house of horrors and story can be found here.
The anonymous tipster told police that the girl was “being treated like an animal,” according to FOX 6 Now.
A 41-year-old woman and 47-year-old man, the girl’s mother and stepfather, have each been charged with one count of child neglect. According to the complaint, school personnel informed authorities that the girl has low-level autism and some cognitive disabilities.
The teenager flew under the radar and no real action was taken to help her until recently. It’s unbelievable that the girl suffered for so long even though her school saw her covered in feces. Although school authorities contacted the girl’s mother regarding her continually attending school in December with pants soiled with feces, dried stool in her hair, and feces emerging from her sleeves and the bottom and neck of her shirt, she was left in her home with no other known investigation until the anonymous tip to police.
One of the girl’s teachers at Wisconsin Hills Middle School reported her concerns in December of 2014 to the Waukesha Department of Health and Human Services, but police weren’t involved until March, according to FOX 6 Now. Even though the family had been working with a “family support specialist” since the spring of 2014, it’s not clear why the police weren’t involved earlier and why the girl was removed only recently.
Despite contact from the school to the mother, the girl regularly appeared at school with dried feces in a diaper or soiled clothing. The complaint stated the following about the girl.
“[She] goes to school covered in feces, for which she gets made fun of.”
The unfortunate teenager did not have a better home life than she had at school, as her stepfather refused to permit her to use a bathroom or sit on their furniture, even calling her a disturbing name. He said he was disgusted with her and called her “Stink,” according to Yahoo! News.
The girl reported that she had a cot, but no toilet or sink, and she wasn’t allowed to have blankets because she soiled them. When she returned home from school, she lived in an unfinished basement room, wearing an adult onesie that zipped in the back. The basement she was forced to live in was about 50 chilly degrees.
The teenager’s half-sister told police that the teenager was permitted to stand on a carpet when allowed upstairs, but never on the furniture. It’s not clear whether this child is allowed to remain in the home.
A next-door neighbor, Joe Gnatzig, 25, indicated that he wasn’t even aware that the teenager lived in the house, but when he was outside, he could hear the stepfather yelling.
According to Yahoo! News, he said, “I didn’t even know she was there. I never even saw her get off the bus.”
Fortunately, invisible no more, the girl has been removed from her home in Brookfield, west of Milwaukee.
Do you think a charge of child neglect is harsh enough? Does the way this girl was treated amount to child abuse?
Unfortunately, children can be abused by relatives and even babysitters. In a horrible case of child abuse, a babysitter who abused children as young as 11-months-old is being held on $350,000 bond.