By Brandi Makuski
A Town of Plover woman faces up to five years in prison after being charged with six counts of child neglect.
Julie K. Haehnlein, 45, has been accused of neglecting the children in her family, ranging in age from two to 15 years old. Haehnlin was charged jointly with her partner, Mario Olan-De La Cruz, 42, who was also living in the home.
The two maintain some of the children were abused by a sibling.
Authorities visited the residence last October when staff at Plover-Whiting Elementary reported they suspected physical abuse. Staff said they observed large chunks of hair missing from one child’s scalp, as well as various bite marks and bruises on the children. They also reported one of the children had excessive discipline problems in class, and others from the family were continuously unhygienic and wore dirty clothing.
According to the criminal complaint, a Portage Co. deputy and social worker discovered nine people living in the family’s home- a trailer on the south end of Plover- with cigarette butts, dirty diapers, dog food, children’s toys and garbage littering the floor.
The residence was fly-infested, with perishable food left on the table and dirty dishes piled up in the sink, dog feces on the floor, and an undelivered stool sample in the refrigerator next to food. The trailer also smelled of marijuana, and empty beer and soda cans were strewn across the floor of the home, according to the complaint.
During the visit, one child was found to have patches of hair missing and bite marks on her back. Another child was found soiled in a playpen with stained blankets, also with bite marks on his forearm.
When asked, a 9-year-old in the home told police his mother was “too busy cleaning her bedroom” when the suspected abuse was occurring.
Authorities returned with backup to remove the children from the home. At that time, Haehnlein became verbally abusive towards police, telling her children, among various expletives, “Cops and social workers are bad people” as the children were taken away.
Two counts of child neglect resulting in bodily harm carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison and a $10,000. The other charges against Haehnlein, four counts of child neglect, could bring as much as 9 months behind bars and a $10,000 for each.
Haehnlein pleaded not guilty last month and was released on a $5,000 signature bond. She was in Portage Co. Circuit Court last week for her pre-trial conference.
Mario Olan-De La Cruz returns to court for his pre-trial conference on Nov. 30.