A 16-year-old girl's adoptive parents are facing criminal charges after she starved to death and was found barely conscious on the floor of her adoptive mother's house with a soiled adult diaper around her waist.
Police officers in Des Moines, Iowa, visited the house of Nicole Finn on Oct. 24, 2016, and found that the 16-year-old girl and her siblings were forced to share a room that had soiled blankets on the linoleum floor instead of beds or furniture, reports The Des Moines Register. Police believe that Natalie had been lying in her own urine and feces for a long while before they found her, according to the newly unsealed case documents.
Numerous dogs and cats also lived at the residence and left feces and urine all over the house.
"What happened to not only Natalie but her siblings was preventable," Democratic State Sen. Matt McCoy said on March 15, notes The Register.
McCoy said that reducing the staff at the Iowa Department of Human Services might have contributed to her death, since child protective workers had received a report from Natalie's school principal that she would come to class dirty and hungry. However, the workers visited the home with police in August and determined that the home had enough food and that the children were not being mistreated. They never conducted a physical examination of Natalie's health but rather determined that she was starving herself.
The siblings did not attend school regularly, reports KCCI.
The senator said that investigators knew that the siblings were afraid of Nicole but that they were unable to move forward removing the children from the home due to a lack of evidence and the inability to find it, notes The Register.
"I think [the caseworker] believed that there was something going on and that these kids were being food deprived," McCoy said.
When police finally visited the home again, it was too late.
"It's a horrific situation and I feel heartbroken for Natalie and her siblings who were, in essence, sealed in that room and left to die," McCoy said, according to KCCI.
Nicole Finn is charged with first-degree murder, child endangerment resulting in death and three counts of first-degree kidnapping, child endangerment causing serious injury and neglect of a dependent person. Her ex-husband, Joseph Finn, is charged with three counts of first-degree kidnapping, child endangerment, causing serious injury and neglect of a dependent person.
Joseph reportedly told investigators that he helped Nicole nail the children's room shut to keep them from sneaking out to beg for food. He also stated that he helped rip out the carpet in the room and replace it with linoleum and that Nicole did not allow the children to use the restroom or eat food without supervision