Mom and boyfriend arrested after two boys escape ‘house of horrors’ and are found naked, bruised and covered with feces and blood

News & Politics

Neighbors in a Wisconsin neighborhood are shocked after two naked boys escaped from a home where police said they found deplorable conditions.

Milwaukee police said they were called to the home on Thursday after the boys were spotted. Neighbors said they saw the children climb through a window of the home, onto an air conditioning unit, and run off into the street.

Chris Eder was one of the people who called the police after interacting with the boys. She told WITI-TV that she immediately knew something was wrong.

“They had no clothes on. Their hair, it hadn’t been brushed,” she said.

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Prosecutors said the boys, ages 7 and 9 years old, were covered in feces, blood, bruises, and red marks. They were transported to a hospital.

Police arrested the boys’ mother, 34-year-old Katie Koch, and her boyfriend, 38-year-old Joel Manke. Manke allegedly told them that he locked the boys’ room to keep them from wandering because of their autism.

Inside their home, police said they found a “terrible hoarding situation.” They described the smell of feces and urine, and in the children’s room, they found feces smeared all over the walls.

Milwaukee County assistant district attorney Mallory Davis told a court about the alleged conditions at the home.

“These children were essentially confined to their room for much of their lives. The door had the locks from the outside and the windows boarded shut,” said Davis.

“I have finally been able to review videos and photographs of the home, and I can tell you that almost every inch of their walls was covered in human feces,” she added.

The criminal complaint said that the boys’ heads had to be shaved at the hospital because their hair was matted with feces. It also claimed that when Koch was told about this, she replied that it was ok because they needed a haircut.

Investigators said the children were not properly schooled or even toilet-trained and would not be able to function in society.

Prosecutors also noted that the mother wrote a three-page apology to the boys. Koch and Manke are both charged with two counts each of chronic neglect of a child and false imprisonment, while Koch is also charged with two counts of neglecting a child.

An Instagram reportedly belonging to Koch showed that she may have an interest in witchcraft.

Eder said the children looked around in “pure bewilderment” when she found them and it seemed as if they had never been outside before.

“I’m not going to ever forget the way they looked when they came running out of that house, never forget that,” she said.

“I hope they realize how people really did care about them,” Eder concluded.

Here’s a local news report about the incident:

Children escape ‘House of Horrors’?

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