A Millington couple is facing child abuse charges after the victim was caught trying to steal food from a teacher at her school, court documents said. But, police officers soon found out the girl was living in a house of horrors.
According to police, the girl told them Trish and Jesse Piatt forced her to sleep in the bathtub and barely gave her food. She only had a onesie to wear while sleeping and had to drink out of the bathroom toilet.
When they first met the girl, she was very skinny and had a shaved patch on the top of her head. The officer at the school said her nails were extremely dirty. She wore clothes covered in dirt and shoes which were too large for her.
A Department of Child Services agent came to the school and said they had numerous reports on the child, and the agent wanted her to be sent back to the home.
The police officer refused. She said the accusations were too severe to send her home.
Jesse came up to the school and said the girl was living in the poor conditions for his own safety.
He feared the victim was going to kill him while he was sleeping.
On why she was so dirty, he only said they tried to make her brush her teeth, but she refused each time.
Jesse told police the victim was an embarrassment. He also said she has an undiagnosed medical condition, and could not be treated because she was too young.
During the interview with the officer, Jesse joked about the situation and continually laughed about it.
Teachers told police they bought the girl new shoes, and she changed into them at school. One day she forgot the change before she went home. The teachers never saw the shoes again.
The police officer eventually decided it was in the girl's best interest to admit her to Lakeside, mental health institution. She told police she would rather go there than go home because she would have food and a warm bed.
Back in January, a doctor told police they feared the girl was being tortured. She had multiple abrasions, bruising and swelling. The doctor also said the girl's behavior is indicative of nutritional neglect, medical neglect, and psychological abuse.
The victim was eventually placed in foster care. Court records said she has gained weight, her hair has grown back and she appears to be a happy 10-year-old girl.
Both Trish and Jessie Piatt were arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect on March 29.
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