A Wisconsin woman is facing felony child neglect charges after her disabled daughter was found dead in filth and squalor, her unchanged diaper weighing over a pound, the Detroit Free Press is reporting.
Nicole L. Gussert, 37, so severely neglected her disabled teenage daughter Brianna, authorities say, that she died a slow, agonizing death over the course of several days last May. Why it took prosecutors over a year to charge her remains unclear.
Back in May 2017, police officers were dispatched to Gussert’s home. Almost immediately on entering the home, police said, officers were overpowered by a terrible smell – a combination of rotting food, animal waste, human waste. The home was in “disarray,” according to a police report, with dirty dishes piled high, garbage everywhere, rotting food with swarms of insects about.
However, what they found in Brianna’s room was far worse than they could have imagined. The 13-year-old girl, who was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, relied entirely on her mother for her care. The body of the girl, who had been dead for at least five days, was similarly covered in filth, her diaper having not been changed in at least five days, over a pound of feces in it. The girl’s feeding tube was empty – and boxes of her formula were out on the front porch.
Nicole Gussert allegedly admitted to officers that the way she cared for the teen was “sub-par.” She also allegedly told officers that the girl hadn’t been to school “in a couple of months” presumably because it was simply easier to say she was sick than it was to get her ready and take her to school.
Outagamie County District Attorney Melinda Tempelis said that Nicole completely ignored her daughter.
“This poor child struggled and suffered immensely because her mom did not check on her at all.”
Brianna’s non-custodial father, Greg Gussert, said that he had last seen Brianna “briefly” in the week before Nicole allegedly began neglecting the young girl, and said nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
Meanwhile, he had to wait over a year to get justice for his daughter.
“I feel like (Brianna’s) story hasn’t been told, and I don’t want her life to be swept under the rug, forgotten.”
Nicole Gussert faces one count of child neglect resulting in death, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 25 years in prison. She also faces three counts of possession with intent to deliver amphetamine, each carrying a maximum penalty of up to 12.5 years in prison.
Brianna Gussert was buried on November 11, 2017, on what would have been her 14th birthday.