A Wisconsin jury has found 41-year old Chad Chritton guilty of felony child neglect for keeping his teenage daughter locked in a basement and starving her.
The girl had been found by police wandering the streets barefoot, clad only in pajamas on February 6, 2012, when she finally told them of the abuse.
Chritton, who had refused to take the stand in his own defense, denied he ever harmed his daughter, and maintained that the reason she weighed only 68 pounds when found was that she did not like to eat. In addition, his lawyer stated that the girl had “mental problems and had been threatening the family.”
The teen (now 16), however testified in court stating that Chritton and her stepmother, Melina Drabek-Chritton, kept her imprisoned in the basement, which “had an alarm on the door.” She went on to state that her “father had choked her and called her ‘Stinky,’” and that she had been forced to sleep on the bare floor and use various containers as a toilet. In addition, she claimed that she “scrounged for scraps of food because she feared making a raid in the kitchen.”
“The reason I didn’t want to eat was because I was afraid that if I asked them my parents would say no.”
To back up her claims, the girl’s foster mother stated that when she first took her home the teen would sneak into the kitchen at night and gorge herself, “although she now eats normally, and is up to 120 pounds.” The foster mom also said that the teen is now attending school where she participates in cross-country track and swimming, and plays the flute.
In the meantime, Melina Drabek-Chritton is due to be tried next month, and the girl’s stepbrother, Joshua Drabek, 19, is awaiting a June trial on charges that he tried to sexually abuse her.