A baby, as old as 6 months, was saved from dying after it was nearly eaten alive by over 50 rat bites on his forehead, cheek, thigh, nose and hands, at a home in Evansville, Indiana, prompting legal action against the parents and an aunt over their negligence.
A local media WFIE reported that the boy was covered in blood as he was facing down in his bassinet on September 13.
He was so severely injured by the rat bites that his left ring finger, among other body parts, had an exposed bone. The bites were all over his body from head to toe.
The affidavit seen by the outlet revealed that the baby’s index and pinky fingers were the most severe, as they "were missing flesh halfway down each finger."
The media outlet also reported that "hospital records suggested that [the child] suffered a near-fatal event.
According to the baby’s father, David Schonabaum, he found the boy in his bassinet, covered in blood, and called the police.
He reportedly told the officials that there was a rodent problem in the home but said the home had been professionally treated several times.
Officials while in the home observed that rooms inside, specifically the kitchen and basement, "were covered in trash and rodent feces."
David Schonabaum said he lived in the home with his wife, Angel Schonabaum, and their three children. Delaina Thurman, Angel Schonabaum's sister, and her two children were also in the home at the time of the near-fatal incident.
The affidavit also showed that two of the children told a teacher earlier this month that their toes had been bitten by mice while they were sleeping. The Department of Child Safety (DCS) visited the home after hearing from the children.
Thurman stated that when authorities came to the home, they had a "normal amount of mice for that area" and told the worker that the marks on her child’s toes were scratches from the bed frame.
The documents also revealed that the Schonabaum’s had two previous interactions with DCS. In December 2022, DCS noted with evidence that their middle child became injured due to the negligence of David and Angel. Then, in June 2023, DCS substantiated a claim of physical abuse from the same child, a 3-year-old, against David Schonabaum.
The home was regularly checked by social workers, who reported that the house was "cluttered, had trash sitting out, had animal faeces on the floors, had dirty dishes piled up, and had foul odours emitting from the kitchen," the affidavit read.
It was also indicated that the state of the home was "slowly improving."
According to documents, all three adults living in the home are facing felony child neglect charges. Police also confirmed Friday that the 6-month-old boy had been released from the hospital, with no information on the child’s condition.