Brothers aged 7 and 9, were rescued last week after fleeing what Milwaukee prosecutors described as a ‘house from a horror movie,’ where their mom and her boyfriend neglected and abused them for years
Neighbors called cops after the boys escaped through a shattered window and ran down the street stark naked and covered in blood, hair matted
Their mother, Katie Koch, 35, and her boyfriend Joel Manke, 38, were in court Monday
Koch is facing four felony counts and two misdemeanors connected to child neglect and false imprisonment
Manke who has lived in the home since 2007 before Koch moved in with her boys fours ago, is charged with four felony counts
If convicted as charged Koch and Manke each, face prison terms of up to 43 years, and fines of up to $120,000
Koch could be sentenced an additional and 18 months in prison and $20,000 in fines, on the two misdemeanor counts
Katie Koch, [left], the mother of the boys who escaped from a ‘house of horrors’ last week, She is facing four felony counts and two misdemeanors connected to child neglect and false imprisonment. Her boyfriend, Joel Manke, [right], is charged with four felony counts
A Milwaukee mother accused of abusing her children for years appeared in court, facing multiple felony charges after her two young sons were spotted escaping a ‘house of horrors’ where she and her boyfriend allegedly imprisoned them.
Neighbors described seeing the boys, aged seven and nine, in the street naked and covered in blood as they moved like ‘cavemen who had never seen the sun’ after they escaped their ‘prison’ on July 13, through a shattered window.
Their mother, Katie Koch, 34, is facing four felony counts and two misdemeanors connected to child neglect and false imprisonment, while her boyfriend, Joel Manke, 38, is charged with four felony counts, according to WDJT.
Neighbors describe seeing the boys, aged 7 and 9, naked and covered in blood, moving like ‘cavemen who had never seen the sun., Koch appeared at Milwaukee County intake court Monday. Prosecutors described the living conditions as ‘like something out of a horror movie.’
During her appearance at Milwaukee County intake court on Monday, prosecutors described the horrendous living conditions in the home.
Koch was filmed looking upset in the court hearing as a prosecutor outlined the abuse and neglect she’s accused of inflicting on her children. The assistant district attorney described the living conditions as ‘like something out of a horror movie.’
Police who responded to a 911 call from nearby residents in the lakeside east Wisconsin city said the house was so crammed with belongings that the floor was not visible, describing it as a ‘terrible hoarding situation’.
Neighbors first spotted her children, sporting hair matted by feces, peering through a shattered window on July 13.
Manke told cops he has lived in the house since 2007. Koch said she moved in with her children four years ago. Neighbors called cops after the boys, aged seven and nine, escaped naked and covered in blood, hair matted, after breaking free through a shattered window
The described the unsettling image of seeing the boys climb through the window onto an air conditioning unit before jumping into the yard and walking down the street stark naked.
One neighbor said the boys ‘were acting like cavemen, like they had never seen the sun before’.
Another resident on the street, Christine Eder, said the children looked like ‘they had never been outside’.
‘They were just walking different,’ Eder said.
‘Their hair looked like it had never been brushed, never been cut. They didn’t know the outside existed.’ Eder said the detached house is normally quiet, and she had not seen anyone go in and out before, let alone hearing children.
She was taken aback by the scene unfolding outside the normally unremarkable home and she kept watch over the boys while her husband called 911.
Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Mallory Davis said the boys had been imprisoned in their rooms, where the windows were boarded up and the doors locked from the outside.
Officers who were called to the home described it as a ‘terrible hoarding situation’ where the floor was not even visible due to the accumulation of belongings.
The conditions were so bad that the children’s heads had to be shaved because their hair was matted with feces.
‘These children have been horribly damaged from their mother’s actions,’ Davis said.
‘They are completely uneducated. They are not potty trained, even at their ages.
‘They are, essentially at this point, unable to function in society.’
Manke, who sports long hair and a thick ginger beard, told investigators he has lived in the house since 2007, while Koch said she moved in with her children around four years ago.
Neighbor Christine Eder said the children looked like ‘they had never been outside’. ‘They were just walking different. Their hair looked like it had never been brushed,’ she said
During a police interview, Manke said he knew the living conditions were not good for the children, but he had to ‘pick his battles’ with Koch to avoid arguments.
He added that the children had never seen a doctor or been to school over the four years they had lived under his roof, as Koch home-schooled them.
Koch, whose hair was badly matted her police mugshots, reportedly also ‘admitted that the home is not habitable,’ and said ‘her boys deserve better.’ Her bond was set at $30,000 cash. Manke’s cash bail was set at $6,500.
If convicted of all the charged, they each face prison terms of up to 43 years, and fines of up to $120,000.
Koch could be sentenced to an additional $20,000 in fines and 18 months in prison for the two misdemeanor counts.
Their preliminary hearings are set for July 26.
‘These children have been horribly damaged from their mother’s actions,’ Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Mallory Davis said
Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said he hopes those responsible for the ‘terrible’ treatment of the children ‘see justice’.
‘I’m glad that those children were able to escape, that’s a terrible, unfortunate situation,’ he said.
‘No kid should have to endure that sort of experience, especially not with relatives of theirs, in any home, in any community in Milwaukee, or Wisconsin, or the United States.
‘I hope those people who were responsible, their parents, see some justice on this.’