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5 Kids Found Malnourished in Basement, Mom Charged with Neglect


A woman in Wisconsin was arrested and charged with neglect after her five children were found malnourished in the basement of her home.

Dashja Turner, from Racine Wisconsin, was charged with five counts of criminal neglect, according to a court complaint obtained by WDJT-TV.

Racine police and the Human Services Department arrived at her home for a welfare check on July 31 at around 3:30 p.m. and found her five children between the ages of 14 months to 14 years old in the basement in frail condition, per the outlet.

The children appeared to all weigh under 55 lbs., with the youngest child weighing in at 10 lbs., a far cry from the healthy weight of 26 lbs. of an average 14-month-old. They also appeared to have not showered for days and were found only wearing socks, per WISN-TV.

The unfinished basement that they were in only contained a twin size air mattress with a single sheet covering it with no pillows or blankets and had purple paint covering every window, the outlet reported.

“This is an egregious type of case as far as the care of the children goes,” Racine County Court Commissioner John Bjelajac reportedly said during Turner’s first appearance in court.


Racine police said in the criminal complaint, per WDJT-TV, that several welfare checks had been called in to check on the children.

“It hurts very badly because I’m begging, texting you every holiday, every birthday, like ‘Can I have my son?’ ‘Where are you?’ Get ignored,” Rickie Stevens, who shares a 7-year-old son with Turner, told WISN-TV at the hearing.

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Officials said that Turner had claimed that the children were being homeschooled.

During the hearing, Racine County Asst. District Attorney Brooke Erickson asked the judge to raise Turner’s bail to $1 million, per WISN-TV.

“I think the exposure, the absolutely abhorrent conditions of these children were in warrant one million dollars cash given the seriousness of the offense,” Racine County Asst. D.A. Erickson said in court, according to the outlet.

A preliminary hearing for the case is set for Aug. 16.



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