A dad and his partner have been arrested after a severely malnourished 12-year-old boy weighing just three stone was found dead in a “dungeon” having been beaten in their home.
Maxwell Schollenberger’s siblings were told to ignore him, and at least one even claimed not to know he was there, according to police.
The child, from Pennsylvania, was covered in faeces in the room where he was kept for years with blinds taped shut and shutters nailed closed.
Horrific new details shared by investigators reveal there were claw marks on the bed, which was the sole piece of furniture in the room.
Maxwell was so weak that he could not walk or even stand when he died.
Investigators said the door was locked from the outside so Maxwell could not escape, and Fox 43 reports that at least one of his three siblings said they didn’t know he was there.
Dad Scott Schollenberger Jr, 42, and fiancée Kimberly Maurer, 35, face homicide charges after the horrific treatment came to light.
Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf told reporters: “This tiny 12-year-old boy never knew the unconditional love from a family.
“Max Schollenberger existed, I will not call this living. He existed in a state of perpetual suffering.”
Maxwell was only discovered after a neighbour called police after Maurer mentioned his death, Penn Live reports.
He never went to school or received any medical care before his death on May 26, Ms Graf said.
She stated: “By the time of his death he was in that room 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
The DA told reporters that the couple had three other young children, stating: “Those children went to the doctor and those children went to school.
“Every other room (in the house) was normal.
“There was an abundance of food…and that food went to every other person in the household, except for Max Schollenberger.”
He was so malnourished that he could no longer digest food, and was too weak to walk or stand.
His death has been blamed on malnutrition and head trauma.
In an autopsy report, Doctor Michael W. Johnson wrote: “In my medical opinion, this 12-year-old child died as the result of blunt force head trauma complicating starvation/malnutrition.”