A 6-month-old Indiana boy was nearly eaten alive by rats that bit him more than 50 times while he slept in his crib last week.
The boy’s parents, David and Angel Schonabaum, were arrested and charged with child neglect after they awoke to find their infant son drenched in blood last Wednesday, 14News reported.
The child’s aunt, Delania Thurman, who lived in the same home in Evansville, was also arrested on the same charge.
The tot, who was covered in bites on his forehead, cheek, nose, thigh, foot, arm, fingers and toes, lost a significant amount of blood, according to the arrest affidavits obtained by the local station.
His right arm had been gnawed by rodents from his elbow down to his hand and parts of his fingers were bitten off so that his bones were exposed, police said.
The infant was flown to a hospital in Indianapolis, where doctors gave him a blood transfusion after his temperature had dropped to 93.5 degrees, the station reported.
The family’s home on South Linwood Avenue — where the boy’s 3- and 6-year-old siblings and 2- and 5-year-old cousins also lived — was full of clutter, trash and rat feces, police said.
Evansville Police Sgt. Anna Gray said the stomach-turning scene was one of the worst child neglect cases she has seen in her career spanning decades.
“It’s really hard to see that and sometimes it’s really hard to maintain composure and be professional,” she told 14News.
The baby’s father told investigators that they began having a rodent issue in March and that Terminix exterminators were treating the house.
But the rats’ mauling of the baby was not the first time the vermin have snacked on children in the home.
Two kids in the house told a teacher at their school on Sept. 1 that mice had bitten their toes while they were sleeping, according to the affidavit.
Four days later, an employee with the Indiana Department of Child Services visited the home, where Thurman claimed the marks on her child’s toes were likely just scratches from the bed frame, the news station reported.
DCS went over a safety plan with the family and a DCS representative was scheduled to return to the home just one day after the baby was bitten by rats.
A case manager had been visiting the home twice a week since April due to past reports involving the children, including a claim last year that a child was hurt due to a lack of supervision and a claim in June that David Schonabaum had physically abused one of the children.
DCS did not comment on the neglect allegations.
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