Prosecutor: Cases of child neglect getting more severe

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ANDERSON, Ind. - A newborn baby with a broken leg, it is hard to comprehend. Two parents in Anderson are facing charges after they can't explain how it happened. The case comes to light just one day after two other parents from Anderson were charged with neglect after police found their twins severely malnourished.

Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said he doesn't know if the county is seeing more of these cases by number, but the level of neglect is getting more severe.

It was early June when a 26 day old baby showed up at the doctor with a broken leg. The pediatrician sent the child to Community Hospital Anderson and alerted authorities. Court documents state parents Nicole Crisp and Darrelwyn Wisler couldn't explain how the child's leg got broken, and the baby had other signs of bruising. Both parents face neglect and battery charges, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

That incident happened before one we told you about Monday night, when DCS visited another Anderson home and found two-year-old twins living in filth, malnourished, and kept in a four-by-four area. Their parents Stephen Auker and Kimberly Robinson face neglect charges.

Last December, police found a mentally disabled 15-year-old girl weighing less than forty pounds wasting away in an upstairs room with inadequate heat or food. Her grandparents and aunt were charged in that case.

"It seems the severity, the injuries, the neglect of the children seems to be more severe than it once was," said Rodney Cummings, Madison County Prosecuting Attorney.

Cummings points to a variety of factors. He said there's no hiding that the county is depressed, with less employment opportunities and more drug usage. The state just declared a public health emergency there because of a Hepatitis C outbreak.

"To have this volume of at-risk people and disadvantaged kids, it's a huge problem. It's a huge problem." he said.

Cummings said more disturbing are the cases that don't make the headlines, like officers walking in to find children surrounded by drug paraphernalia or next to someone who's overdosed. He said 84 percent of students in Anderson Community Schools receive public assistance, meaning concern about child welfare in the county is widespread.

"The run of the mill kids that live in a disadvantaged environment is very troubling and very disappointing," he said.

Tuesday, the director of the Indiana Department of Child Services Mary Beth Bonaventura wrote a public memo saying statistics show child abuse and neglect trends rising across the United States, and Indiana is no exception. She said the department is adding staff like 100 family case managers and 17 supervisors.

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