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Authorities in Madison, Wis. have arrested the stepmother, stepbrother and father of a 15-year-old girl who weighs only 70 pounds. A neighbor found the barefoot teenager last week as she stumbled down the street wearing nothing but pajamas.
The 70-pound teen then accused her stepmother, Melinda Drabek-Chritton, of throwing her down the stairs and locking her in the basement. She then explained that she had escaped through a window and was looking for help.
Drabek-Chritton and the teen's father, Chad Chritton, have since been charged with child abuse. Joshua Drabek, her stepbrother, is being accused of violating the terms of his probation.
Police immediately took the teen to a local hospital where she was evaluated by a doctor specializing in child abuse. He believes she suffers from "serial child torture with prolonged exposure to definite starvation," according to WKOW-TV.
Investigators also found evidence that the trio locked the 70-pound girl in the basement without much food, notes the station. There was no bathroom and an alarm would go off if she tried to leave and go upstairs.
Sadly, the police report explains that this was the not the first time the department has encountered the family. In 2007, someone reported the girl had been molested by a family member. She appeared healthy at the time, but was unwilling to cooperate with investigators.
It's unclear whether much else could have been done at the time. But be sure authorities will be looking at whether that investigation was properly handled. Citizens will want to know if there was any way police could have saved the 70-pound teen before last week.
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