Three individuals have been taken into custody in Evansville, Indiana on charges of neglect after a baby was severely injured in a rat attack.
On September 13th, David Schonabaum contacted the Evansville Police Department, reporting that his 6-month-old child was found in a bassinet covered in blood at his residence on South Linwood Avenue.
Upon arrival, the police discovered the blood-filled bassinet with rodent footprints as evidence.
The room itself was cluttered and filled with trash and food scraps. Rodent bites were visible on various items in the room, and there was rodent feces on the floor.
According to the police, the infant sustained nearly fatal injuries. The child had 50 bites on their face, as well as bites on their foot, toes, fingers, arms, and hands that exposed bone.
After being initially treated in Evansville, the child had to be transported to Indianapolis for further medical attention. The hospital administered a blood transfusion due to the significant blood loss.
Police identified the occupants of the home as David Schonabaum, Angel Schonabaum (David’s wife), and Delaina Thurman (Angel’s sister). David and Angel had three children, and Delaina moved in with her two children.
According to David, they were allowed to reside in the home rent-free in exchange for maintaining the property. He admitted to an ongoing issue with mice and rats since March. Despite his efforts using rat traps and bait boxes provided by Terminex, the problem persisted. He claimed to capture up to four rats per night.
Text messages between David and Terminex revealed his description of the home being “overwhelmed with rats.” He admitted to filling the traps until they broke and mentioned the return of roaches.
Terminex records mentioned garbage bags piled in the backyard as potential rodent attractants.
When questioned about the baby’s injuries, David explained that he and Delaina had been caring for the child. He claimed not to have heard the child making any noise until he found them covered in blood while asleep on the couch around 3 a.m. He discovered the injuries when he checked on the child in the morning at around 6:30 a.m.
A social worker from the Department of Child Services (DCS) visited the home after Delaina’s children, a 2-year-old and 5-year-old, had told teachers at school that their toes had been bitten by mice while they were sleeping. At that time, Delaina expressed doubt that the marks on the child’s toes were caused by mice telling the worker the marks were probably just scratches from the bed frame. DCS went over a safety plan with the family and planned to return on Sept. 14 – the day after the infant was found injured.
Police discovered that there was an ongoing DCS case against Angel and David, initiated in December 2022 for alleged inadequate supervision of one of the children resulting in an injury.
Maglinger Home Based Services has also been involved with David and Angel since April. Their reports noted the presence of clutter, animal feces, trash, and dirty dishes in the home. Police stated that conditions were slowly improving based on a walkthrough conducted on September 9th.
The incident led to the removal of all five children from the care of Angel, David, and Delaina. David was able to find a new residence within 24 hours.
The investigation resulted in the arrest of all three individuals on various charges of neglect. David and Angel are held on $10,000 bonds, while Delaina’s bond is set at $2,500.
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