Anderson grandfather sentenced to 24 years in severe neglect case

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Steve Sells

MADISON COUNTY, Ind. (Nov. 20, 2015)– An Anderson man was sentenced Friday for the abuse of his granddaughter.

Madison Circuit Judge Mark Dudley sentenced Steve Sells, 59, to 24 years in prison for various neglect, battery, welfare fraud and theft charges. Police say he presided over the young girl’s abuse and left her for dead. Her 35-pound body was discovered in a bedroom of an Anderson home nearly a year ago.

“Mentally disabled and physically disabled. 35-45 pounds for a 15-year-old girl. It’s hard to imagine that anyone could have been aware of what was going on in that home and not have reported it,” said Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings last week when Sells pleaded guilty.

Steve Sells (left) and Joetta Sells (right)

Steve Sells (left) and Joetta Sells (right)

Cummings said the teenager’s Social Security Disability checks were cashed by her grandparents for their own purposes.

Sells admitted beating the girl with a belt and dragging her down steps by her hair after she soiled herself.

His wife, Jonetta Sells, refused to admit she knew her granddaughter was being abused, but pleaded guilty in October and received a 24-year sentence.

Video from a previous story below.