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Hammond couple convicted in child neglect case

Elise, left, and Jeremee Will.

A town of Hammond couple has been convicted in a case involving the abandonment and neglect of their 14-year-old daughter.

Elise D. Will, 36, pleaded no contest to one count of felony child abandonment Friday (Nov. 18) and Jeremee C. Will, 38, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor child neglect.

A felony charge of child abandonment against Jeremee Will was dismissed and a misdemeanor child neglect charge against Elise Will was dismissed in a plea agreement.

Judge Eric J. Lundell ordered a pre-sentence investigation for Elsie Will and set a review of the case for Jan. 18. Jereme Will was sentenced to probation for one year, ordered to attend parenting class, undergo counseling and fined $253.

The criminal complaint said sheriff's deputies investigating the death of a six-week-old girl at the Will's home on July 23 discovered the teenage 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.

A five-year-old brother had not lost his privileges because the daughter said, "he listens pretty good," according to the complaint.

During a four day stretch in July, she 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 the girl into her house when she discovered she hadn't eaten. Her father forced her to return home, the complaint said.

The girl is currently staying with a relative, court officials said.

Court records revealed Elise Will was 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.