A Milwaukee mother faced a court appearance following a shocking incident involving her two young sons escaping what neighbors described as a ‘house of horrors.’ The boys, aged seven and nine, were found naked and covered in blood, exhibiting behavior resembling ‘cavemen who had never seen the sun’ after breaking free through a shattered window last week.
Katie Koch, 34, the mother, is now confronted with two misdemeanors and four felony counts related to charges of false imprisonment and child neglect. In the same case, Joel Manke, 38, her boyfriend, also faces four felony counts. During a subsequent court hearing, emotions ran high as a prosecutor detailed the alleged abuse and neglect inflicted upon the children.
Upon receiving a 911 call from concerned residents in the lakeside east Wisconsin city, police rushed to the scene and were confronted with a distressing situation. The house was so heavily cluttered with belongings that the floor was obscured, resulting in a ‘terrible hoarding situation.’
The incident came to light when observant neighbors spotted the two children, whose hair was matted with feces, looking out through a shattered window on July 13.
Mallory Davis detailed the imprisonment-like conditions in which the boys were kept. Their rooms were sealed with boarded-up windows and doors lockable only from the outside.
Responding officers to the house described it as a severe hoarding case, with the floor entirely obscured by an overwhelming accumulation of belongings.
The squalid conditions had reached a point where the children’s hair had to be shaved due to feces entanglement.
Davis voiced the severe damage inflicted on the children by their mother’s actions, stating, “They’ve been profoundly affected and are currently unable to function in society due to a lack of education and basic skills like toilet training, despite their age.”
Manke, identifiable by his long hair and substantial ginger beard, informed investigators of his residency in the house since 2007. On the other hand, Koch moved in with her children approximately four years prior.
During a police interview, Manke conceded that he was aware the living conditions were subpar for the children but chose to avoid disputes with Koch.
The children, he added, hadn’t visited a doctor or attended school during their four years of stay under his roof, as Koch was responsible for their education at home.
In her police mugshots, Koch, with severely matted hair, accepted the uninhabitable condition of their house and admitted that her children deserved better.
The court has set Koch’s bail at $30,000, which she reportedly cannot post. Manke’s bail stands at $6,500, though it is uncertain if he has managed to pay it.
If found guilty of all charges, Koch and Manke could face up to 43 years in prison and fines reaching $120,000 each.