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Prosecutor files more charges in starved girl case

Published On: Apr 16 2012 09:26:34 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 16 2012 08:39:47 PM CDT
Chad Chritto

A prosecutor has filed more charges against a husband and wife accused of torturing and starving the man's teenage daughter and forcing the girl to live in their basement.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne on Monday filed new felony counts of causing a child mental harm, failing to protect a child, false imprisonment and child neglect against both Chad Chritton and Melinda Drabek-Chritton.

They are already facing charges of reckless endangerment, child abuse and child neglect. They both pleaded not guilty to all the counts Monday afternoon.

"We looked through the information we had and we thought we should file new charges," Ozanne said.

The girl's stepbrother, Joshua P. Drabek, also has been charged with sexually assaulting her. He stood silent in front of the judge Monday. The judge entered not guilty pleas to a charge of child abuse and two counts of sexual assault on Joshua Drabek's behalf.

Defense attorneys filed additional motions on behalf of their clients.

"For the most part, these are pretty much standard motions," Ozanne said. "One's dealing with bail; the other is jurisdiction of the court. The only motion we haven't normally seen is the one regarding the health of one of the defendants."

That motion addresses Drabek-Chritton's reported chronic kidney disease. Her attorney said the condition isn't being properly treated by jail staff.

Issues regarding Drabek-Chritton's medical condition are set to be discussed April 23.

Further court appearances for her, Chad Chritton, and Joshua Drabek are set for May.

The victim was 15 years old when she was found wandering barefoot outside in February, underdressed and severely underweight. 

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