(Daily Mail By MARK DUELL) – A severely malnourished 15-year-old girl was allegedly forced her to live in the basement of a home by her parents for years while they beat her, starved her and even forced her to eat her own faeces.
The Wisconsin teenager had been forced her to live in the house’s basement by her father, 40, and stepmother, 42, for six years and an alarm would sound if she went upstairs, police said.
She was found barefoot in pyjamas near her home last week and allegedly ate what she could find on the floor and in the rubbish, but her parents forced her to eat her faeces and drink her own urine.
The girl weighed just 70lbs when she was brought into a hospital and a doctor there told police she was under a ‘significant risk of death’ and chronic starvation caused her puberty to be arrested.
Dr Barbara Knox, of American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, also said the girl would be at high risk for other disorders and complications that can lead to death, according to an affidavit.
Someone notified police after seeing the girl barefoot in her pyjamas last Monday.
The girl claimed she fled her home because she was afraid her stepmother was going to throw her down the stairs. Her stepmother and father were named by the Wisconsin State Journal as Melinda Drabek-Chritton and Chad Chritton.
The girl told police she was let out of the basement to ‘clean some papers’ for her stepmother, who became angry because she wasn’t doing it fast enough and threatened to throw her down the stairs.
The couple were arrested on Friday on suspicion of child abuse and neglect, and a judge set their bail on Tuesday at $20,000 each, reported the Wisconsin State Journal.
Joshua Drabek, the girl’s 18-year-old stepbrother was also arrested for an alleged probation violation, reported the newspaper.
The girl, who is not enrolled in public or private school, lived in the same house as her parents, older stepbrother and two younger stepchildren – but everyone apart from her in the home lived upstairs, reported Fox affiliate WFXS.
One doctor said the girl suffered ‘serial child torture with prolonged exposure to definite starvation’. If she was ever caught eating without her parents’ permission, she was allegedly forced to vomit it up.
A hearing was set for Thursday to review the bail and talk to the judge about the charges, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said – adding that he can’t say when charges might be filed.
The girl’s father initially gave police medical explanations for her condition – but a hospital social worker told authorities there was likely much more to the case, a police spokesman said.
‘(The victim) stated the primary reason she fled the house that day is it appeared this defendant was going to throw her down the stairs,’ Assistant District Attorney Matt Moeser said, reported Morgan Murphy Media news website Channel 3000.
Drabek-Chritton has owned her home in Madison since 2005 and reportedly bought it from Christian affordable housing organisation Habitat for Humanity, who performed a background check of her.