A Madison woman accused of heinously abusing her step-daughter will go to prison for five years. Melinda Drabek-Chritton was accused of starving and locking her now 15 year-old step-daughter in a basement. The case came to light when the girl escaped in February of last year.
Drabek-Chritton struck a plea deal in April, just hours before her trial was to begin. She agreed to plead no contest to charges of first-degree reckless endangering safety and causing mental harm to a child. Both charges are felonies that could have netted her a combined maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. Prosecutors agreed to drop four other felony counts.
Drabek-Chritton’s husband Chad was found guilty in March on one count of child neglect. Still awaiting trial is the victim’s 18 year-old stepbrother, who’s accused of sexually assaulting her over a period of several years.