A 16-year old has died after she was tortured and starved by her parents, the Daily Mail is reporting.
Natalie Finn died from emaciation after being denied of food, clothing and health care by her parents, Nicole Finn, 42, and Joseph Michael Finn II, 45. The 16-year-old Iowa teen suffered cardiac arrest and later died at a hospital. Her parents have been charged with child endangerment causing serious injury, first-degree kidnapping and neglect of a dependent person.
Her mother has been charged with child endangerment causing death and first-degree murder. A criminal complaint said Nicole Finn murdered her daughter “intentionally, willfully, deliberately, with premeditation and malice afterthought.”
Both parents are accused of secretly imprisoning Natalie and two of her siblings, a 15-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl at their West Des Moines home. According to complaints, the children were subjected to “unreasonable force, torture, and cruelty” and this caused Natalie’s death.
Both adults are in jail with scheduled appearances in court, December 19. Nicole Finn is being held on a $2.1 million cash bond, Joseph Finn has bail set at $1.5 million. Natalie was a former student at the Walnut Creek Campus in the 2014-2015 school year. The teen was not penciled down for the 2016 school year. Neighbors described her as extroverted and sweet.
According to the Des Moines Register, a concerned neighbor had contacted child welfare workers over the 16-year-old’s well-being, five months before she died. Becca Gordon said she contacted school authorities May 31 who in turn, got in touch with human service professionals.
Gordon said Natalie was friendly with her son at Walnut Creek and used to come to their house to ask for food two blocks away. According to her, she would eat and ask for more to take to her sister.
Gordon said she always looked unkempt, wore the same clothes for days and had big bloody blisters on her feet because she had no shoes. Becca Gordon said she thought the family had simply fallen on hard times and was shocked when Natalie said her parents were abusing her.
“I didn’t really know what was going on at first. I thought maybe they didn’t have much money, and she was a growing girl, until one day when she came to my house and said,’ My mom locked me up for two days with my sister. We’re hungry.”’
Gordon said she got in touch with the police after she heard that.
Police reports show that the West Des Moines police reached out to the Iowa Department of Human Services and informed social worker, Lauren Templeman about the case. However, they never faxed the report because she did not know the agency’s fax number and did not seize the initiative to ask for further details over the phone.
Amy McCoy, spokesperson for the agency admitted that abuse reports could either be received by fax or phone. However, she refused to comment any further citing that it was crucial not to interfere with the ongoing case.
“We have consulted with the county attorney, and DHS will not be sharing any additional information about this case, so as not to jeopardize criminal proceedings.”
Gordon was never contacted; she revealed that if she was, Natalie would still be alive.
“I was pretty upset. I wondered if she would be dead if they had done a proper investigation.”
Becca said she reached out to Natalie’s mother for permission to allow her child engage in extracurricular activities. According to her, she never got one reply to all her texts. Becca Gordon revealed she contacted the Reader’s Watchdog, November 21, to see if the parents had been charged with Natalie’s death.
“I was so, so afraid justice wouldn’t be done…she was just this friendliest, bubbliest, beautiful, personality. She was just wonderful. What a waste of life.”
In May, officers Barry Graham and Matthew Granzow went to Natalie’s house to check on her after Becca Gordon contacted them. They knocked several times, Officer Granzow said he saw someone peeking furtively out of a window in the house, but no one came to the door.
In April, the 16-year-old had tried to run away, but failed.
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