Police: Madison teen may have been starved, locked in basement

2:19 PM, Feb 15, 2012   |    comments
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Chad Chritton (WMTV)

Madison, WI (WMTV) - Madison, Wisconsin police released gut wrenching details about a 15-year-old girl was allegedly held captive and tortured in her family's basement.

Chad Chritton and his wife Melinda Drabek-Chritton were emotional when they appeared in front of a Dane County judge. They have not been charged, but are accused by Madison police of keeping Chad's 15-year-old daughter in the basement with no bathroom and very little food. They are also accused of having an alarm that would go off if she went upstairs.

"The child has been diagnosed by Dr Barbara Knox with 'serial child torture, with prolonged exposure to definite starvation,'" said Dane County Assistant District Attorney Matthew Moeser.

Police said they executed a search warrant on the family's home and only property records show Melinda Drabek owns the home in the 4600 block of Treichel Street.

Police said they began investigating the case when a passerby found the 15-year-old gir walking along the side of the road near the family's home Monday. She was barefoot and wearing only pajamas.

"Stated that the primary reason why she had fled the house that day was a fear for this defendant was going to throw her down the stairs," said Moeser.

The girl weighed only 70 pounds at the time and her father said it was because of medical reasons.

A social worker told police there is likely more to the story.

"During the course of a safe harbor interview conducted on Friday of last week, SLC did disclose physical violence committed against her by this defendant including strangulation," said Moeser.

Police said in 2007 someone alleged the girl may have been molested by a family member, but the girl said at the time, that it was not true. The family would not cooperate and police said the girl did not look healthy at that time.


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