Plea deal in Oconto County child abuse case

Date: 2011-04-29

Sentencing scheduled for June 27

By Laura Smith

OCONTO - An Oconto County judge handed down guilty verdicts for a husband and wife in an extreme child neglect case.

The ruling in the case came after David and Jan Carpenter accepted a plea agreement Friday.

The Carpenters adopted a little girl from Guatemala in November of 2008.

According to court records, the Carpenters brought the child, who was almost three-years-old, to their home in the Town of Little River.

About 11 months later, the Oconto County Department of Health and Human Services was investigating the suspected abuse and neglect of the girl.

According to a criminal complaint filed against David Carpenter in March of 2010, the child was taken to the hospital.

A doctor there told Child Protective Services she looked "like a concentration camp survivor."

Court records say the child weighed about 21 pounds, but had weighed 23 at adoption nearly a year earlier.

Doctors also reported she suffered from unexplained bruising and severe malnutrition.

The complaint says Health and Human Services officials took the child from the Carpenter home because of her emaciated condition, her injuries and lack of medical care.

Court records indicate a second child was also removed from the home although no charges have been filed against the Carpenters involving that child.

Neither the attorneys in the case nor the Department of Health and Human Services would say how either child is doing or who is now caring for them.

The Carpenters entered no contest pleas in court. The judge found both guilty of child neglect resulting in bodily harm.

Both sides declined to comment after court.

The Carpenters are scheduled to be sentenced at the end of June.

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