The Madison Police Department is investigating a significant child abuse and neglect case involving a 15-year old girl. Police have arrested her father and stepmother. They were in court Tuesday.
READ: Police report
Last Monday, a concerned neighbor reported the girl, clad only in pajamas, walking a couple of blocks from her house, and in obvious need of help. She was taken to a Madison hospital where she was found to be dramatically underweight: just 70 pounds. The girl’s father provided medical explanations for her physical condition, but a hospital social worker told police there was likely much more to the case. A doctor who specializes in child abuse examined the teen and diagnosed her condition as, “serial child torture with prolonged exposure to definite starvation.”
A forensic interview provided probable cause to make 3 arrests. Late on Friday the child’s 40-year old father and 42-year old stepmother were arrested on tentative charges of Child Neglect. In addition, a 18-year old step brother was arrested on a Probation and Parole hold.
Detectives learned the girl lived with her father, stepmother, adult stepbrother, and two younger stepchildren. While the rest of the family resided upstairs, she was forced to spend most of her time in the basement, without a bathroom, and being given very little to eat. There was an alarm that would sound if she went upstairs. The girl is not enrolled in any school.
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin issued a statement:
Our thoughts are with the young woman who has been brutally victimized in this horrible case. She is now with caring professionals who will do their utmost to treat her with the kindness and compassion she has not experienced in her young life to date.
There are many questions that remain on this case, but I hope that it truly serves to remind us that we all must be vigilant about abuse every day.