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Wisconsin man guilty of neglect for starving teen daughter

Dane County Sheriff's Office

Chad Chritton is accused of imprisoning his daughter in the family basement.

A jury convicted a Wisconsin father accused of locking his teenage daughter in a basement and starving her of felony child neglect late Friday, but was unable to reach a verdict on four other felony counts.

Jurors found Chad Chritton guilty of felony child neglect, but they told the judge they couldn't reach a unanimous decision on the other felonies he faced, including child abuse and false imprisonment. He was found not guilty of a misdemeanor neglect charge.

Chritton denied harming his daughter, who is now 16, and says she weighed just 68 pounds when she ran away from home because she didn't like to eat. The defense claims the girl has mental problems and was threatening the family.

Chritton, 41, declined to take the stand in his own defense, saying he wasn't sure he could "competently answer questions without getting confused," the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

The teen was found wandering the street, barefoot and in pajamas, on Feb. 6, 2012, and eventually told authorities a tale of terrible abuse.

On the witness stand earlier this week, she said her father and stepmother kept her locked up in the basement, which had an alarm on the door.

Her father choked her and called her "Stinky," she said, according to the State Journal.

She said she slept on a bare floor, used containers as a toilet and scrounged for scraps of food because she feared making a raid on the kitchen.

"The reason why I didn't want to eat was because I was afraid to ask my dad and stepmom because I was afraid they'd say no," she testified.

Her stepmother, Melinda Drabek-Chritton, is due to be tried next month. Her stepbrother, Joshua Drabek, 19, is awaiting a June trial on charges he tried to sexually assault the teen.

The girl's foster mother testified that when she first came to her house, she would sneak into the kitchen at night and gorge herself. But she's since started eating normally and is up to 120 pounds. She also goes to school, plays the flute and participates in swimming and cross-country track.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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