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A 6-month-old Indiana boy was found with more than 50 rat bites, and now the baby’s parents and aunt — said by neighbors to be “good people — are in jail on multiple child neglect charges.
Police were called to the home of David and Angel Schonabaum in Evansville on September 13, when David Schonabaum said he found the infant in his bassinet covered in blood, according to WFIE.
The boy was taken to a local hospital and then flown to a hospital in Indianapolis. Police said doctors found more than 50 bites on his forehead, cheek, nose, thigh, foot, and toes. The boy’s right arm was covered in bites from the elbow to the hand, and all of his fingers showed parts missing with bone exposed.
According to court documents, doctors found his body temperature at 93.5 degrees, and he needed an immediate blood transfusion.
David Schonabaum told police that the house developed a rodent problem in March and had been professionally treated monthly since that time, the Today show reported.
Police said the Schonabaums also had a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old living in the home, which was littered with trash and rat feces, WFIE reported. Angel Schonabaum’s sister, Delaina Thurman, also lived in the home with a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old child.
The court documents said that the Department of Children’s Services visited the home earlier this month after two of the older children told a teacher they had been bitten by mice while they were sleeping. Thurman reportedly told the social worker that the marks on her child were likely scratches from the bed frame.
DCS made a safety plan and scheduled another visit for September 14.
Police said that a case manager reportedly had been visiting the home twice a week since April and last visited on September 9. They said previous dealings with the family included a 2022 claim that a child was hurt while unsupervised and a claim of physical abuse against David Schonabaum in June.
DCS declined to comment about the case.
Court documents said that the caseworker documented the home as “cluttered, had trash sitting out, had animal feces on the floors, had dirt, dishes piled up and had foul odors emitting from the kitchen” but said the situation was “slowly improving,” Today reported.
Meanwhile, neighbors said they were surprised and had no idea what was going on inside the home.
“They’re good people,” neighbor Tim Norton told WFIE. “They take good care of their kids. I’m always seeing them loading food into the house.”
Neighbor Teressa Favors said the parents were “nice” and “cool.”
“I have always seen her take care of that baby,” she said.
But Evansville Police Sgt. Anna Gray said the scene she found inside was one of the worst she’d seen in decades on the police force.
“People can put up a front, you may not know them well enough, or behind closed doors there’s things going on,” she said.
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[Featured image: David Schonabaum, Angel Schonabaum, and Delaina Thurman/Vanderburgh County Jail]