Warning: Details of this incident may be considered disturbing to some readers.
HENDERSON, Ky (WEHT) – Two Evansville parents and one other family member were arrested and charged with neglect after authorities say their six-month-old child suffered a “near fatal event” while in their care.
According to an affidavit, officers with the Evansville Police Department were dispatched to a home in the 1600 block of Linwood Avenue on September 13 for a medic run. The caller, identified by authorities as David Schonabaum, told dispatch he found his six-month-old son covered in blood. Schonabaum also told authorities his son’s fingers appeared to be chewed off. The infant was stabilized and transported to a hospital in Indianapolis for further treatment.
Authorities say the child had over 50 bites to his forehead, right cheek and nose. An affidavit says the toddlers most traumatic injuries were on his right hand, with four of his fingers and thumb on his right hand missing the flesh from the top of them, exposing the fingertip bones. Hospital records describe the incident as a near fatal event. The infant required a blood transfusion due to the amount of blood lost.
Detectives at the scene reportedly observed clutter and trash including discarded food items inside the victim’s room. Authorities said there appeared to be rodent foot prints left in blood as well as rodent feces and several items in the room that appeared to be chewed on by rodents. In other rooms of the home, authorities reportedly found rodent feces as well as rat traps and a bait box. Police say the home had a foul odor in the kitchen and basement.
According to an affidavit, David told a detective the house was owned by his cousin who allowed him to live there with his wife, Angel Schonabaum, 28, and their three children. Authorities say Angel’s sister Delaina Thurman, 25, had also been living at the house with her two children for approximately four months. Angel was not at the scene when authorities arrived, and had been in a hospital since September 10. Angel was released from the hospital on September 13 due to the incident.
David reportedly told authorities his cousin allowed them to live there rent free as long as David maintained the upkeep of the house and property. David said he contacted Terminix to treat the house once a month after they developed a problem with mice and rats in March. According to a service report in August, the service technician took a photo of trash stacked in the backyard and noted the presence of trash would attract rodents, but did not go inside the home during the visit.
David told authorities he woke up around 6:30 a.m. on September 13 to check on the victim when he noticed blood everywhere, and wasn’t sure if the infant was alive. David told police he yelled for Delaina to come help, and they took the child to the bathroom to wash him off to see where the blood was coming from. While washing him, David said he noticed all the fingers on the child’s hand appeared as though they had been chewed on by rats. David said no other children had been bitten by rats.
During an interview with Delaina, authorities say she admitted her oldest daughter and David and Angel’s oldest daughter told a teacher at school on September 1 that their toes were bit by mice while they were sleeping. Delaina spoke with DCS on September 5, and said the home had a “normal amount of mice” for the area. DCS went over a safety plan with Delaina and a follow-up visit was scheduled for September 14.
According to an affidavit, it was discovered that David and Angel had a current DCS case after DCS substantiated a claim of neglect in December on the two in regard to one of their children being injured due to lack of supervision. An allegation of physical abuse was also made against David on June 17, and the claim was substantiated by DCS. However, since the family was already getting family preservation services, the decision was made to just continue with those services.
Maglinger Home Based Services started working with David and Angel on April 15. The services entailed two home visits a week by an assigned case manager. Police say notes for many of the completed visits indicated the house was cluttered, had trash sitting out, had animal feces on the floors, had dirty dishes piled up and had foul odors emitting from the kitchen. Notes indicated the state of the home was “slowly improving.” The last walkthrough of the house prior to the incident was dated on September 9.
David Schonabaum, Angel Schonabaum and Delaina Thurman were booked into the Vanderburgh County Confinement Center on the following charges:
- David Schonabaum – Three counts neglect of a dependent/child violations
- Angel Schonabaum – Five counts neglect of a dependent/child violations; one count reckless supervision of a child
- Delaina Thurman – Two counts neglect of a dependent/child violations
David and Angel are being held on a $10,000 bond and Thurman is being held on a $2,500 bond.