A house of horrors was discovered by two seemingly feral children, shocking the area and leading to significant child negligence charges against two people.
When two young boys were seen strolling down the street on July 13 in a Milwaukee neighborhood, locals quickly realized something was amiss.
The lads were seen by neighbors peering through a broken window of a house before climbing out onto an air conditioner. The boys then walked down the road and to the ground.
One child witness told WDJT the boys were “acting like cavemen like they had never seen the sun before.”
Christine Eder, who lives across the street from the boys’ home, said it looked like the children “had never been outside before.”
Eder watched the two small children, later identified as being 7 and 9 years old, while her husband dialed 911.
“They were just walking different,” she said. “Their hair looked like it had never been brushed, never been cut. They didn’t know the outside existed.”
When the police arrived, they found that the lads had shattered the glass in order to flee a terrifying residence.
Katie Koch, 34, is the mother of the children. She's facing four felony counts and two misdemeanors connected to child neglect and false imprisonment. Joel Manke, 38, is facing four felony counts. pic.twitter.com/MA8HmLMfPI
— Adam Rife (@AdamRifeReports) July 18, 2023
The children had been held in the room for most of their lives, according to frightening evidence, Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Mallory Davis revealed. The chamber was so dirty that you couldn’t see the floor through the garbage. It was secured with a door that closed from the outside and boarded-up windows.
The rest of the house turned out to be in a filthy condition.
The house was filled with trash and other items, and it was said to smell like feces.
Joel Manke, a 38-year-old man claiming to be the home’s owner, is accused of imprisoning these kids on four criminal counts. The boys’ 34-year-old mother, Katie Koch, is charged with four felonies, two further misdemeanors, and chronic child negligence.
Manke’s mother doubts the story that two children were horribly abused in the home, despite the facts and neighbors’ testimonies to the contrary.
“He took them to the park and outside,” Manke’s mother Diane told WTMJ-TV. “They did things, but that’s what I want people to know. They didn’t keep them in a house trapped up in a room.”
According to Diane, her son provided financial assistance and care for the kids even though they weren’t his. She was given temporary custody of the children but gave them over to the state on the grounds that they needed special care.
“He’s trying,” Diane said of her son. “I just wish he would’ve tried harder so none of this would’ve come about.”
Manke has been freed from custody after posting a $6,500 bond, but Koch is still detained.