Six-month-old baby is nearly eaten alive by rats in his crib as parents arrested for neglect

David Schonabaum, Angel Schonabaum, and Delaina Thurman have all been charged with various counts of neglect (Vanderburgh County Jail)
David Schonabaum, Angel Schonabaum, and Delaina Thurman have all been charged with various counts of neglect (Vanderburgh County Jail)

Three adults were arrested after a six-month-old baby in their care was found to have been almost eaten alive by rats, leaving the infant covered in blood with his fingers chewed off.

The baby boy’s mother, father and aunt were arrested in Evansville, Indiana, for various charges related to the horrific ordeal the boy had to endure, court records show.

The mother to the infant, 28-year-old Angel Schonabaum, was charged with two counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury and four counts of neglect of a dependent for placing the child in an endangering situation.

Her husband and the baby’s father, 31-year-old David Schonabaum, was charged with one count of the former and two counts of the latter.

Delaina Thurmon, 25, Mr Schonabaum’s sister, was charged with two counts of the latter. She also had two children of her own.

All of them resided in the same home located in the 1600 block of South Linwood Avenue where the terrible incident took place.

The Evansville Police Department was sent to the home on 13 September as Mr Schonabaum reported that the baby needed emergency medical assistance after they woke to find their baby son “covered in blood” with the baby’s fingers appearing to be “chewed off”.

The six-month-old was found by doctors to have more than 50 rodent bites to his forehead, cheek and nose alone.

Chunks of flesh were missing from all his fingers and thumb on his right hand, exposing the bone.

The index and pinky fingers were “missing the flesh halfway down each finger,” police said.

The baby also had more bites down his arms, legs, feet and toes.

First responders stabilised the baby and took him to a local hospital, where upon arrival his temperature was around 93.5 and his blood pressure was 50/30.

The baby was airlifted by helicopter to a more specialised hospital in Indianapolis.

Doctors said to police that the baby had a “near fatal event” due to the rodents eating his flesh.

“From what the doctors and nurses told the detectives, very near to death,” EPD Sergeant Anna Gray told WEHT. “The child had lost so much blood that the child actually had to have blood transfusions as well. Several fingers had to be amputated.”

“The only reason that we even knew about it was because the dad woke up and the baby was covered in blood,” she continued. “It’s kind of one of those situations where they were just not paying attention.”

After searching the home, police said the room where both the baby and his parents slept was overwhelmed by rubbish and rat faeces, the affidavit stated.

Blood was smeared all over the baby’s bassinet and blanket, as well as the diaper disposal bin, which had rodent footprints left in the blood.

The family’s home was found with rubbish, rotten food and rodent faeces around the house (WEHT)
The family’s home was found with rubbish, rotten food and rodent faeces around the house (WEHT)

Despite the baby sleeping next to the parents, they claimed they “did not hear the child cry,” Ms Gray relayed.

“This was a case where rats had been living in the home,” Ms Gray said to WEHT. “The home was overwhelmed with rodents. They said they were trying to get rid of the rats, but I think they were like trapping about for a day at least. I mean, that’s a lot of rats.”

The parents claimed they had a problem with mice since March and had contacted Terminix to try and solve the issue.

The parents additionally had a neglect case open since December with squalid conditions at the home when one of their children sustained an injury due to a “lack of supervision.” The records also show that Mr Schonabaum had an allegation of physical abuse made against him on 17 June.

Caseworkers were visiting the home bi-weekly. The worker made notes of the rubbish, and rodent faeces, as well as asked about bite marks on the child’s feet, which Ms Thurmon denied as rat marks, she also claimed to another case worker that they had a “normal amount of mice” in their home.

Ms Thurmon later admitted to police that her oldest daughter had told her teacher on 1 September that her toes had been bitten by mice while sleeping.

The caseworker had visited the home four days before Mr Schonabaum called 911, but no action was taken against the living conditions in the house.

‘I’ve been on an officer for 20 years, and we’ve seen some serious neglect cases but nothing where it involved rats feeding off a child,’ Ms Gray said. ‘It’s horrible.’

All the children in the residence have since been placed in foster care, including the child just released from the hospital, said Ms Gray.

All three adults are being held in Vanderburgh County Jail, the parents have a $10,000 bond, while the aunt is being held on a $2,500 bond.

They are all due to appear in court on Friday at 1pm.