Two accused of starving, torturing girl

Feb. 15, 2012 at 2:15 PM

MADISON, Wis., Feb. 15 (UPI) -- A married couple in Wisconsin was arrested for allegedly torturing and starving a 15-year-old girl forced to live in their basement, a police affidavit said.

The girl is the daughter of Chad Chritton, arrested with Melinda Drabek-Chritton. The alleged victim told authorities she was forced to live in the basement of the couple's home in Madison, Wis., scavenged for food and had been physically injured in beating by her father and stepmother.

A doctor who specializes in child abuse examined the girl and reported she sustained "serial torture with prolonged exposure to definite starvation," Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said.

Passersby notified police after seeing the 70-pound girl, barefoot and in pajamas, after she escaped the home Feb. 6. The affidavit says she ran away because she feared "Melinda would throw me down the stairs."

DeSpain said the girl spent her time in the basement, without a bathroom and little to eat, and an alarm would sound when she came upstairs. The stepmother was home-schooling her, to the affidavit says.

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