A mother and father from rural Waseca are facing charges after their 7-year-old adopted daughter was taken to the hospital following a seizure, with doctors finding her to weigh just over 28 pounds.
Warning: Details of this story are extremely upsetting.
Keith and Katie Krause, ages 38 and 35 respectively, have been charged with felony child neglect in Waseca County District Court.
According to charging documents, authorities and medical workers were called to a home in North Mankato on Sep. 27, 2018, after the girl had a seizure.
The child was transported to Mayo Clinic Health Systems in Mankato for treatment and evaluation, where doctors became concerned that she may have been a victim of chronic child abuse.
The girl was intubated and flown to Mayo Clinic Health Systems-St. Marys Hospital in Rochester for more care. Injuries and conditions observed by doctors included:
- Large amount of bruising.
- Scar tissue from healing injuries.
- Scabs from current injuries.
- Fractured fingers on her left hand.
- Subdural hematomas, which is a collection of blood outside the brain typically caused by severe head injuries.
- Rectal bleeding.
- Pelvic fracture.
- Possible malnourishment.
A doctor told investigators that the subdural hematomas the girl was suffering from are typically caused by "the force equivalent of a car accident," the complaint states, with the doctor saying the child had the body weight of a 2 year old.
In an interview with investigators, the Krauses said they adopted the girl from China when she was 3 years old.
Keith Krause explained that the fractures, bruises and abrasions were the result of the girl falling off her bicycle, adding that she recently slipped and hit her head on the corner of a tiled seat in the shower. He also said Chinese people bruise easier.
When asked why the girl had the body weight of a 2 year old, he explained that he and his wife noticed she was "looking skinny lately."
He also claimed that the girl is the only one of their children – they have three biological children – to receive whole milk, whole milk yogurt and whey protein powder in an effort to increase her weight.
Katie Krause was asked the same questions and repeated the story about the bicycle and shower accidents while saying she wasn't sure why the girl's weight is so low.
In a Nov. 13 interview with a child protection agent, the 7 year old said she felt safe in her foster placement and didn't want to get hurt and go back to the hospital again.
She explained in detail punishments she would receive for being "naughty," which she defined as times when she was sneaky, wetting her pants or eating crumbs off the table when she was hungry.
Punishments included doing jumping jacks for 15 minutes or until her mom told her to stop, being forced to run, taking cold showers or baths, and spankings, sometimes with a wooden spoon.
For falling down and getting dirt on her arm, she said her mother once ran hot water on her arm for five minutes to the point that her skin fell off. She pointed to a scar on her arm as she recollected the incident.
A certified child abuse pediatrician told investigators that there is "zero" chance the girl's brain bleeds were caused by a seizure and that her malnourishment could only be directed to a lack of calorie intake.
As of Jan. 18, the girl weighed 48.4 pounds, an increase of 20 pounds since she was taken to the hospital on Sep. 27.