More than 50 rat bites… Indiana authorities have arrested the parents of a 6-month-old baby, along with the infant’s aunt after the child was found nearly eaten alive by rats.
They said the baby’s right arm had bites from the elbow down to his hand. All of the fingers reportedly had parts missing, leaving the bones exposed.
Officials said the baby’s temperature was 93.5 degrees, along with the boy needing a blood transfusion.
Authorities also said a 3-year-old and 6-year-old were living in the home.
Thurman, who is the sister of Angel Schonabaum, also had a 2-year-old and 5-year-old living in the home, police said.
Officials said the home was filled with clutter, trash and rat feces.
News of the the parents arrest led to neighbor’s expressing shock and disbelief.
‘They’re good people,’ neighbor Tim Norton told 14News. ‘They take good care of their kids. I’m always seeing them loading food into the house.’
Norton wasn’t the only person who thought the same.
‘They have always been nice; they have always been cool,’ neighbor Teressa Favors said. ‘I have always seen her take care of that baby.’
But everything was not as it seemed.
DCS had been aware of home situation since April following a March complaint
‘People can put up a front, you may not know them well enough, or behind closed doors there’s things going on,’ Evansville Police Dept. Sgt. Anna Gray said.
According to officers, David Schonabaum told them the house began to have a problem with mice and rats in March, and Terminix was treating the home.
The affidavit also said two of the children living in the house had told a teacher on Sept. 1 that their toes had been bitten by mice while they were sleeping.
The Indiana Department of Child Services had reportedly visited the home on Sept. 5.
Officials said Thurman told a DCS worker the marks on her child’s toes were probably just scratches from the bed frame.
DCS went over a safety plan with the family and said they would return on Sept. 14.
EPD Sergeant Anna Gray says it’s one of the worst child neglect cases she’s seen in her decades on the force.
‘It’s really hard to see that and sometimes it’s really hard to maintain composure and be professional,’ Sgt. Gray said.
Of disconcert, a claim of physical abuse was made by a child in June 2023 against David Schonabaum.
A case manager had been visiting the home twice a week since April 2023, with the last walkthrough of the home was September 9.
DCS has to date declined to respond to media overture as to how the home situation was able persist for so long, with the agency saying that they are not able to comment on cases, citing confidentiality.