A man and two women in Indiana were arrested after a 6-month-old baby in their care nearly died from being eaten alive by rats, suffering dozens of bites from the rodents, many of which went all the way down to the bone.
The infant boy’s parents, David Anthony Schonabaum and Angel Schonabaum, as well as his aunt, Delaina Thurmon, were taken into custody last week and charged with a spate of felonies in connection with what happened to the child, court records show.
David Schonabaum was charged with one count of neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury and two counts of neglect of a dependent — placing dependent in an endangering situation. His wife was charged with two counts of the former and four counts of the latter, while Thurman, his sister, is facing two counts of neglect — placing dependent in an endangering situation.
All three adults lived at the house with the vicim. Thurman had two young children of her own who also resided in the home.
Content warning: references to extreme child abuse follow.
Officers with the Evansville Police Department on Sept. 13 responded to a call about a baby requiring emergency medical attention at a residence located in the 1600 block of S. Linwood Avenue. The caller — later identified as David Schonabaum — told the dispatcher that he awoke to find his infant son “covered in blood” and said the boy’s fingers appeared to have been “chewed off.”
Upon arriving at the scene, first responders provided emergency medical treatment, stabilized the baby, and transported him to a local hospital. Soon after arriving, the boy was transported via helicopter to another hospital in Indianapolis for more specialized treatment.
In hospital records provided to police, doctors described the baby as suffering a “near fatal event” and required a blood transfusion after almost going into shock.
Doctors said the baby suffered more than 50 bites to his forehead, cheek, and nose alone. The boy was missing flesh from all four fingers and thumb on his right hand, exposing bone on all five fingertips. Most severe were the index and pinky fingers, which police said were “missing the flesh halfway down each finger.” The chid also suffered additional bites to his arms, legs, feet, and toes. His internal body temperature was about 93.5 and his blood pressure was 50/30 when he arrived at the hospital.
“From what the doctors and nurses told the detectives, very near to death,” EPD Sergeant Anna Gray told Evansville, Indiana ABC affiliate WEHT when asked how serious the boy’s condition was. “The child had lost so much blood that the child actually had to have blood transfusions as well. Several fingers had to be amputated.”
She added, “The only reason that we even knew about it was because the dad woke up and the baby was covered in blood.”
Back at the home, police said the baby’s bassinet was about three feet away from the bed where his parents slept in a room that was covered with clutter, half-eaten food, and rat feces. The detective said he observed “a large amount of blood” inside the bassinet along with a “bobby pillow” and blanket that were both “covered in blood.”
The diaper disposal container also had “blood smeared all over it and what appeared to be rodent footprints left in the blood,” the affidavit states.
When asked how they could possibly allow such horrors to be inflicted on a baby, the adults said “they did not hear the child cry,” according to Gray.
“This was a case where rats had been living in the home,” Gray told WEHT. “The home was overwhelmed with rodents. They said they were trying to get rid of the rats, but I think they were like trapping about for a day at least. I mean, that’s a lot of rats.”
The victim’s parents are currently being held in Vanderburgh County Jail on $10,000 bond while Thurman is being held on $2,500 bond. They are scheduled to appear in court at 1 p.m. on Friday.
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