A 16-year-old girl was found dead on the bathroom floor of her Iowa home after her stepmother had starved her to death. Two other siblings found in the house were also extremely malnourished and testified in front of the court that they were forced to climb out of the window to beg for food and drink from the toilet.
House of Horrors
It was one of the most harrowing scenes of child neglect when a young teenager’s body was found crumpled on the bathroom floor where she had died from a cardiac arrest in December last year. 16-year-old Natalie was the oldest of the three siblings who fell victim to stepmother Nicole Finn’s inhumane treatment.
Blood-curling images of one of the surviving siblings was presented during the court trial which showed a malnourished child’s arms and legs covered with wounds and bed sore, and spine protruding through the skin due to starvation and malnourishment.
The 43-year-old step mother who starved her three adoptive children, was presented in court after being charged with murder for her daughter Natalie’s death. During the trial, numerous disturbing details of Nicole’s treatment towards the children were revealed. For years, the three children had been locked in a single room with no furniture and were rarely allowed to leave the room.
The police report details that when the authorities arrived at the house, they smelled a strong stench of urine and human feces coming from the room the children had been kept in. The floor was also covered in urine and the police report speculates that the children were starved so that they wouldn’t have to leave the room too often to use the toilet.
Children Were Forced to Beg the Neighbors for Food
The surviving teenagers Jaden, 15, and Mikayla, 14 testified in front of the court that they had pleaded for food countless times with their mother but when she refused to feed them, they were forced to climb out of their bedroom window to beg the neighbors for food. When Nicole and ex-husband found out that the kids had been sneaking out to go to the neighbors’ house, they sealed the window shut.
A photo of a handwritten message by one of the siblings saying, “Doesn’t open, mom sealed it shut!” was found written on the window which caught the attention of the passers-by.
During her final days, 16-year-ld Natalie was at her lowest weight of just 81 lbs. and her younger brother Jaden said that she was so weak that she wasn’t able to walk on her own. The dying teenager had slumped onto the bathroom floor out of exhaustion, and instead of showing concern, the horrible stepmother told her that she wasn’t going to feed her if she didn’t get up. Natalie eventually died a few days later in the same spot.
The authorities say that it took Nicole 15 minutes to call 911 after her daughter suffered from a cardiac arrest and by the time the paramedics got to the house, it was already too late.
Child Protected Services Refused to Help
The children had also been removed from the private school they were previously attending and the school administration and concerned neighbors had called child protective services to inspect the situation inside the house.
But even after seeing the state the malnourished children were in, the welfare authorities decided not to rescue them from their evil stepmom. The workers of the child protective services who were responsible for the house visit were fired by the Department of Human Services later after a detailed inspection.
15-year-old Jaden said that they were even deprived of drinking water and had to resort to drinking from the toilet out of thirst. The siblings didn’t leave their filthy room more than a few times the entire summer until the death of their oldest sister. The police also said that the mother had hoarded at least a dozen rescued cats in the house along with other animals, but had failed to perform the most basic of parenting duties.
Nicole has been convicted of first degree murder and received three life sentences along with two counts of kidnapping. The court called the parents’ actions inexcusable and ordered both of them to stay away from the surviving children for the rest of their lives.