ANDERSON, Ind. (Dec. 1, 2014)– No formal charges have been filed yet in a severe case of child neglect in Madison County, and police are looking at the possibility of additional suspects.
Anderson’s trauma team was called to a house Monday in the 3400 block of Forest Terrace Drive on a report of a 15-year-old girl suffering from severe malnutrition. Police say she now only weighs 35 pounds.
Police say the teen is mentally disabled and was covered in feces.
The girl’s grandfather, Steve Sells, 58, has been arrested and will face preliminary child neglect charges. He is currently on a 72-hour hold. No formal charges have been filed in the case because of the hold, but prosecutors expect charges of neglect, criminal confinement and battery.
State officials confirmed with FOX59 that they had received a report about the case on the Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline although they could not specify the nature of the report or who alerted them because of confidentiality laws.
“I’m completely floored and blown away by it… baffled, mind boggling,” said neighbor Thomas McAllister.
McAllister said Sells lived with his wife and three children. Never would he have thought such severe abuse was happening inside.
“That is mind boggling. That is just disgusting and no child should have to go through anything like that,” he said.
Sells’ wife was returning home when FOX59 cameras were rolling. She refused to talk to us.
“They were cooperative enough where they came to the police station and provided an explanation for her condition,” said Joel Sandefur with the Anderson Police Department.
Police said she is so malnourished and in such poor health that she may not make it much longer.
Investigators are working to determine the extent of the neglect. The teen was initially taken to St. Vincent Hospital in Anderson by a concerned family member, but was transferred to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent for treatment Monday night.