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Hammond couple will face trial in child neglect case

Elise, left, and Jeremee Will.

A rural Hammond couple has been bound over for trial on felony and misdemeanor charges of child abandonment and child neglect.

Jeremme Christopher Will, 27, and Elise D'Lynn Will, 36, appeared in St. Croix County Circuit Court last Wednesday, Oct. 5 with separate council for preliminary hearings. Elise Will waved her preliminary hearing and the court found probable cause that a crime was committed. An arraignment hearing was scheduled for Nov. 2.

Jeremee Will continued through the preliminary hearing process. He was bound over for trial and set to reappear for an arraignment hearing Nov.2.

The Wills are charged with one count each of felony abandonment of a child and misdemeanor neglecting a child.

Judge Eric J. Lundell questioned the felony charge, but found probable cause to continue to trial.

The criminal complaint said deputies investigating the death of a six-week-old girl at the Will's 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 that 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.

The girl's grandmother, who lived next door, testified at the Oct. 5 hearing that the teenager had been locked out of the house and forced to stay in a small tent.

The results of an autopsy by the Ramsey County (Minn.) medical examiner on a six-week-old baby girl who died at the couple's residence could not determine the cause of death, authorities said.

Elise Will was convicted of felony child abuse in June of 1998 in Chippewa County. She was sentenced to probation for five years and ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment, according to the state circuit court website.