WREG is reporting that Jesse and Trish Piatt were arrested March 29 and charged with aggravated child abuse as well as aggravated child neglect.
According to a police report, an investigation was launched in January after the young girl was caught trying to steal food from her fourth-grade teacher.
The child told school officials that her parents hardly gave her any food at home because the school served two meals daily.
The young girl said even when she got food at home, it was always dry ramen noodles and was either served in the bathroom or on the floor.
The girl also claimed that she was made to sleep in a bathtub and instructed to drink toilet water. The police report noted that the girl was thin and always came to school unkempt and dressed in black tennis shoes that were too large.
After speaking to the police, the girl refused to go back home, prompting a Department of Child Services agent to come to the school and ask for the child to be released.
The police officers on call refused, arguing that the accusations the girl made were too severe to allow her to go back home.
According to WALB, her father, Jesse Piatt, showed up at Millington Elementary School where he gave a different account of what had transpired to police.
The father claimed the child had an undiagnosed medical condition that defied treatment. He said he had been unsuccessfully looking to commit the child to a mental home, adding that he feared that she would kill him in his sleep.
He admitted that the girl slept in a tub, but argued that she was the one who refused to sleep in a bed. Piatt said it was difficult to make her do anything, adding that she refused to brush her teeth which had remained untouched for over a year.
The officer noted in their report that the man called his daughter “an embarrassment to the other children,” and did not even attempt to speak to the child once during his interview. They said Jesse Piatt laughed and cracked jokes all through his interrogation.
The girl told police officers that she did not want to return home to her parents, adding that she preferred to stay in a care home where she was assured of a warm bed and food.
The child told investigators that she had been urged several times by her parents to go ahead and kill herself.
A doctor who examined the young girl said her injuries were synonymous with a child suffering abuse and vicious torture. The doctor concluded that the young girl was at extreme risk of suffering psychological problems if she was allowed to remain in the house.
A teacher speaking to Journal News claimed that she bought the girl new shoes which she never took home. According to the teacher, the girl forgot to remove the shoes before returning home one day.
The teacher said she never saw the shoes again.
A neighbor who did not wish to identified told investigators that she suspected something was wrong.
“We knew something was wrong over there…shortly after our kids became friends with theirs. The youngest sibling, she never came over. She was always doing yard work.”