Entries in Starvation (2)


Girl, 15, Tortured and Starved By Family

Thinkstock/Getty Images(MADISON, Wis.) -- A 15-year-old girl was held captive in the basement of her family's home with no access to food, a bathroom, or an education, according to police in Madison, Wisc.

Police arrested the girl's father and stepmother after a search warrant and interviews revealed that the girl had been kept in the basement and starved until she weighed only 70 pounds, according to a police report from the incident.

An investigation into the home began Feb. 6 when a passerby saw the girl walking along the side of a road in her pajamas without shoes or socks.

Mike Vega, who said he was the passerby who saw the girl walking, told ABC affiliate WKOW he called the police.

"The girl started talking about how her stepmother had just thrown her down the stairs, she had escaped out a window and was looking for help," said Vega.

Police arrived and called EMS to take the girl to a hospital, where doctors and social workers ruled she had been serially abused and was the victim of "serial child torture with prolonged exposure to definite starvation."

While executing a search warrant at the home, police found that the girl had been kept in the basement of her family's home while her father, stepmother, and step-siblings all lived upstairs. She was not enrolled in any school, and an alarm was set up to go off if the girl came up from the basement. She was given little food and no access to the bathroom, police said.

Chad Chritton, 40, the father of the victim, was arrested by police Monday, along with the girl's stepmother, Melinda Drabek-Chritton. Both are charged with child abuse. A stepbrother of the girl, Joshua Drabek, 18, was also arrested on a probation and parole hold.

The family had previously been investigated for alleged molestation of the girl, but none of the family members cooperated with police and the victim did not corroborate the allegation, police said.

The three adults are all being held on $20,000 to $25,000 bond. Two other children who lived in the home have been placed in child protective custody, while the victim is receiving medical care and is also in child protective custody, police said.

The family could not immediately be reached for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hunger and Children in America: a Slow and Steady Starvation

George Doyle/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A little two-year-old boy came to the hospital hungry, not just for dinner, but every day of his young life. He is smaller than he should be and his organs, including his brain, are not developing fully. And he lives in Boston, one of America's most prosperous cities.

Doctors at Boston Medical Center's Grow Clinic, which provides assistance to children diagnosed with "failure to thrive," say they have seen a dramatic increase in the number of children they treat who are dangerously thin.

"What's so hard is that a lot of families are working so hard," said Dr. Megan Sandel, an associate professor of pediatrics and public health at BMC. "They are working jobs. They are earning money and their dollars just don't go far enough."

That is life for nearly 15 million children living in poverty in the U.S., according to the National Center for Children in Poverty.

Some of their stories were depicted in first-person picture stories by 40 women in Philadelphia who documented their family life for a project called "Witnesses to Hunger." It was a graphic record of what it is like to live in crowded bedrooms and open a largely empty refrigerator and pantry.

Pauline S. told ABC News that while she had some macaroni, Spaghetti-Os, noodles, and peanut butter and jelly in her pantry Wednesday night, the food would be gone by next week.

"It really hurts being a mother to see and to feel the hurt for my children," she said. "Not being able to give them what they want and not being able to have everything that other children have -- it hurts a lot."

The number of children living in poverty in the U.S. is up nearly 20 percent from 2000, according to the NCCP, because of higher unemployment and foreclosures. It's a problem across the nation but children are the worst off in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. They fare better in New Hampshire, Minnesota and Massachusetts.

U.S. food banks say they face slow and steady starvation rather than sudden African famine.

"We talk about global hunger and we have extended tummies and we have sad eyes," said Marie Scannell, executive director of the Food Bank of Somerset County in New Jersey. "That's not what you'll see. For instance, in Somerville, N.J., you'll see sadness in the children's eyes. That's really the worst part for us."

Across the country, nearly 5.5 million children live in families that have lost homes to foreclosures, and eight million children live in families in which at least one parent has lost a job, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio