Indiana baby is nearly eaten alive by RATS that bit him 50 times as he slept in his crib: Parents and aunt are arrested over neglect that saw infant's fingers gnawed to the bone and left him needing blood transfusion

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  • Reading time:8 min(s) read

  • The child, aged just six months, suffered over 50 bites to his forehead, cheek, nose, thigh, foot, and toes as he slept in his crib in Evansville, Indiana, last week
  • Cops arrested the kids’ parents and live-in aunt, who remained jailed Friday on neglect charges
  • The infant has since been released from hospital and all other children in the home have since been placed in foster care

An infant who was nearly gnawed to death by rats last week has been released from the hospital, cops said – the latest development in what officers in the Indiana suburb are calling one of the worst child neglect cases they’ve ever seen.

The child, aged just six months, suffered over 50 bites to his forehead, cheek, nose, thigh, foot, and toes as he slept in his crib in Evansville cops said – before being found by his father the next morning with all the fingers on his right hand missing.

Left bleeding out, the child required a blood transfusion, an affidavit chronicling the September 13 incident revealed – and was subsequently rushed to a hospital before being airlifted 170 miles away to Indianapolis. 

There, specialists worked round-the-clock on the child’s ‘traumatic injuries’, cops said upon announcing his release Friday – adding the damage done was mostly confined to the minor’s right hand and forearm. 

‘All four of (the victim’s) fingers and thumb on [that] hand were missing the flesh from the top of them, exposing fingertip bones,’ cops wrote Monday after arresting the kids’ parents and live-in aunt, who remained jailed Friday on neglect charges.

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An infant who was nearly gnawed to death by rats last week at this home in Evansville, Indiana, has been released from the hospital, cops revealed Friday - after the child was airlifted 170 miles away to Indianapolis for a live-saving medical procedure

An infant who was nearly gnawed to death by rats last week at this home in Evansville, Indiana, has been released from the hospital, cops revealed Friday – after the child was airlifted 170 miles away to Indianapolis for a live-saving medical procedure

David Schonabaum, 31
Angel Schonabaum, 28

The child’s father David and Angel Schonabaum, aged 31 and 28, were booked into the Vanderburgh County Jail Thursday on multiple counts of neglect and other criminal charges for allegedly allowing the incident to unfold

Cops in the town near Kentucky say the trio, consisting of 31-year-old David Schonabaum, 28-year-old Angel Schonabaum, and 25-year-old Delania Thurman, who also lived at the Evansville residence, allowed the incident to unfold.

‘Their excuse was that they did not hear the child cry,’ Evansville PD’s Sergeant Anna Gray explained Friday after the infant’s release, remarking how he was nearly eaten alive.

‘The home was overwhelmed with rodents,’ she added of the domicile, which detectives wrote contained clutter and trash like discarded food items left inside the victim’s room – and also allegedly housed four other small children.

‘It’s kind of one of those situations where they were just not paying attention,’ she continued in the department’s official statement.

‘The injuries were significant and the child was losing blood at a very high rate.

‘[He] could have went into shock pretty early on.’

While the officer’s statement did not shed much light on the child’s condition, she did say that ‘from what the doctors and nurses told the detectives, [he was] very near to death.’

She revealed: ‘The child had lost so much blood that the child actually had to have blood transfusions as well. 

‘Several fingers had to be amputated.’

The affidavit filed alongside the Schonabaums’ and Thurman’s Monday arrests, meanwhile, provided some insight on the squalid conditions the child was subject to while living at the home South Linwood Avenue – which cops wrote was rife with trash, rodent footprints, and feces.

Police Det. Jonathan Helm wrote of how members of the force found the child after receiving a frantic 911 call from David – who allegedly woke up to the grisly scene around 6:30 am, not sure if his son was still alive.

‘All four of (the victim’s) fingers and thumb on his right hand were missing the flesh from the top of them, exposing fingertip bones,’ Helm wrote, describing the damage the baby sustained overnight.

‘The damage to (the victim’s) index and pinky fingers were the most severe,’ he added, noting the appendages ‘were missing the flesh halfway down each finger.’

Delania Thurman, the boy's 25-year-old aunt, had been living at the house with her two own children for approximately four months, cops said

Delania Thurman, the boy’s 25-year-old aunt, had been living at the house with her two own children for approximately four months, cops said 

Cops in the town near Kentucky say the trio, consisting of 31-year-old David Schonabaum, 28-year-old Angel Schonabaum, and 25-year-old Delania Thurman, who also lived at the Evansville residence, allowed the incident to unfold

Cops in the town near Kentucky say the trio, consisting of 31-year-old David Schonabaum, 28-year-old Angel Schonabaum, and 25-year-old Delania Thurman, who also lived at the Evansville residence, allowed the incident to unfold

'Their excuse was that they did not hear the child cry,' Evansville PD's Sergeant Anna Gray explained Friday after the infant's release, remarking how he was nearly eaten alive

‘Their excuse was that they did not hear the child cry,’ Evansville PD’s Sergeant Anna Gray explained Friday after the infant’s release, remarking how he was nearly eaten alive

'The home was overwhelmed with rodents,' she added of the domicile, which detectives wrote contained clutter and trash like discarded food items left inside the victim¿s room

‘The home was overwhelmed with rodents,’ she added of the domicile, which detectives wrote contained clutter and trash like discarded food items left inside the victim’s room

Five children - including the victim - lived in residence, suspects told cops during their arrests Monday

Five children – including the victim – lived in residence, suspects told cops during their arrests Monday

The affidavit also describes the clutter and trash detectives observed both inside and outside the home after arriving at the scene – where they said they found several discarded food items inside the victim’s room.

Also discovered in the room where the infant slept were what investigators identified as a series of rodent foot prints left in blood – as well as rodent feces and several items in the room that appeared to be chewed on. 

In other rooms, cops said they found more feces, as well as a series of rat traps and a bait box. 

Cops further revealed that the home had a foul odor emanating from both its kitchen and basement, and that the child’s parents had two other children living inside the residence, aged three and six.

It also showed how both David and Angel – who are both charged with neglect of a dependent for the incident – had a case open with the Indiana Department of Child Services over squalid conditions at the home since December, when one of their children was injured due to a ‘lack of supervision’. 

Cops said the service also began conducting twice-weekly visits to the family’s home in April, where a caseworker’s notes showed the house at that point was littered with trash, animal feces and dirty dishes.

But, the caseworker wrote at time, the condition of the home was ‘slowly improving’, and no action was sought against either of the parents.

The affidavit filed alongside the Schonabaums' and Thurman's Monday arrests, meanwhile, provided some insight on the squalid conditions the child was subject to while living at the home South Linwood Avenue - which cops said was rife with trash, rodent footprints, and feces

The affidavit filed alongside the Schonabaums’ and Thurman’s Monday arrests, meanwhile, provided some insight on the squalid conditions the child was subject to while living at the home South Linwood Avenue – which cops said was rife with trash, rodent footprints, and feces

Police Det. Jonathan Helm wrote of how members of the force found the child after receiving a frantic 911 call from David - who allegedly woke up to the grisly scene around 6:30 am, not sure if his son was still alive

Police Det. Jonathan Helm wrote of how members of the force found the child after receiving a frantic 911 call from David – who allegedly woke up to the grisly scene around 6:30 am, not sure if his son was still alive

The affidavit also describes the clutter and trash detectives observed both inside and outside the home after arriving at the scene - where they said they found several discarded food items inside the victim¿s room

The affidavit also describes the clutter and trash detectives observed both inside and outside the home after arriving at the scene – where they said they found several discarded food items inside the victim’s room

Meanwhile, records show a Maglinger Home Based Services caseworker visited the home much more recently –  four days before the father dialed 911 – but again, no action was taken.

It also show how an allegation of physical abuse was also made against David on June 17, and that the claim at the time was even substantiated by DCS. 

However, since the family was already getting services at the time of the complaint, the decision was made to continue with the initial services, cops said.

Days earlier, on September 5, DCS another caseworker traveled to the home, police wrote, and spoke with Thurman – who told her the home had a ‘normal amount of mice’.

The caseworker added that upon being questioned about what appeared to be bite marks on one of the kids’ feet, she denied wounds were caused by rodents. 

A few weeks before, early on in the summer, Thurman and her children began living at the home – which David told cops was actually owned by his cousin, and the clan supposedly allowed to live there under the sole stipulation of upkeeping the home.

Gray said Friday that all the children have since been placed in foster care, including the child just released from the hospital.

In a statement, she said of the countless neglect cases she’s seen over two decades on the force, this one takes the cake.

‘I’ve been on an officer for 20 years, and we’ve seen some serious neglect cases but nothing where it involved rats feeding off a child,’ Gray said. ‘It’s horrible.’

David – who is facing three counts neglect of a dependent/child violations- and his wife, who is facing five, are currently being held on a $10,000 bond, while Thurman is being held on $2,500 bond.




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