Stephen Auker, a 38-year-old dad of two-year-old twins in Anderson, Indiana, learned his fate in Madison County Circuit Court on Monday, after he entered a guilty plea earlier this month in a child neglect case that one prosecutor said was the worst case of any kind she had ever handled, according to a report in the Indianapolis Star newspaper.
Next up, the mother of the horrendously neglected twins, 32-year-old Kimberly Robinson, who is also facing four child neglect charges. Robinson’s case has yet to go before a judge.
“This was one of the most atrocious cases I’ve ever seen,” Deputy Prosecutor Jennifer Haley told the Star. “I’ve had a lot of dead bodies. This was worse.”
Read earlier Inquisitr coverage of the disturbing Stephen Auker case at this link.
The two twins weighed just 16 and 17 pounds each — about half of the expected normal weight of children 30 months old — with arms no bigger around than a quarter, according to the Anderson Herald-Bulletin newspaper in a report published after the parents were busted on the neglect charges back in July.
The reason — Auker was simply starving them. Robinson has also been charged in the case. But that wasn’t even the whole story.
When investigators, acting on a tip from a frightened neighbor of the Anderson, Indiana, couple, found the twins along with Auker and Robnson’s two older children — girls ages six and seven — they were not only severely malnourished, they lived in a room no bigger than four feet by four feet in the couple’s home, a room with no beds or even mattresses for the children, and floors piled with animal waste and other extremely unsanitary garbage.
“The house was in complete disarray with dog, cat feces, dirty diapers, trash, dirty clothing and dishes,” wrote Detective Jon Needler in a police affidavit detailing the arrests, adding that the home was pervaded by “an atrocious smell.”
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The kids had no clothes other than the ratty garments they were wearing when police showed up. There was virtually no food or drink for the four children in the home.
“Both (twins) show severe signs of neglect in a sense that it appears that they were not being fed,” Needler wrote in his affidavit. “If they continued on the path they were on they could only have lived months, not years, and would have likely died of malnutrition.”
The kids were treated in a local hospital and later placed in foster care. In addition to the physical damage caused by their malnutrition, the children showed alarming signs of mental and developmental problems.
According a neighbor, the seven-year-old girl was incapable of counting as high as 10.
The health of the two older girls was in “rapid decline,” police said, according to the Star report, but the twins condition was even more severe and posed a threat to their lives.
In court Monday, a judge sentenced Auker to 20 years behind bars plus eight years of probabtion, even though the dad’s lawyer, Jimmy McDole, said that he never intended to harm his kids but rather “got overwhelmed” by his own mental health issues, as well as financial problems.
When the twins were rescued from the horror house, they could not walk, crawl, stand or speak — all abilities that would be expected of a toddler in his 30th month. They also lacked the ability to eat with a spoon or fork and in fact appeared to have developed only as far mentally and physically as a baby six months of age.
Their health reportedly showed improvement after treatment, and proper nutrition, administered by medical professionals.
Auker appeared in court at his sentencing, where he told the judge that he was happy to hear that his children were now under good care.
[Image via Shutterstock]