Hammond couple charged in child neglect
A Hammond couple has been charged with abandoning and neglecting their 14-year-old daughter, who apparently was the victim in a previous case 13 years ago.
Jeremee Christopher Will, 37, and Elise Lynn Will, 36, appeared before Judge Eric J. Lundell Wednesday (Sept. 7) in a hearing to determine the status of the case. Each was charged with one count of felony child abandonment and a misdemeanor count of child neglect.
The criminal complaint said a sheriff's deputy's investigation of the death of a six-week-old girl at the Wills' town of Hammond home on July 23 discovered a 14-year-old daughter lying in a fetal position in the basement.
The girl told deputies she had been forced to sleep on the floor in the basement because she had lost all her privileges and was not allowed a pillow or blanket. She also had to earn back the right to wear clothes other than the ones she had on.
The complaint said she had been kicked out of the house and forced to sleep in a tent in the back yard, forced to sit in a dark room for a month except for breaks to go to the bathroom or to school and to stay in a garage or outside anytime her parents were not home over a seven-month period beginning in January.
A five-year-old brother had not lost his privileges because the daughter said, "he listens pretty good," the complaint said.
During a four-day stretch in July, the girl did not eat because she could not figure out how to do outside chores when it was raining to earn eating privileges. Her grandmother, who lived next door, took her granddaughter into her house when she discovered the girl hadn't eaten. Her father forced her to return home, the complaint said.
The Wills each posted $5,000 signature bonds Sept. 2.
Authorities said Elise Will was convicted of abusing the same child in the past. Court records revealed she had been convicted of felony child abuse in June of 1998 in Chippewa County. The charge resulted from the investigation of an April 4, 1998, incident in Barron. Elise Will was sentenced to probation for five years and ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment, according to the state circuit court access website.
St. Croix County Chief Deputy Scott Knudson said Tuesday the results of the autopsy on the infant were not available.