Hearing for couple accused of child neglect - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Hearing for couple accused of child neglect

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - A La Crosse couple charged with causing mental harm to a child and neglect, resulting in physical harm, had their preliminary hearing Wednesday.

The 3-year-old child lived with her father, Dustin Barnes, and his girlfriend Josie Dikeman.

"(Doctors said they found) various fractures on both (of the child's) left and right hands. That they had also found fractures to both of her feet, and the fractures were in various stages of healing," said La Crosse County social worker Erin Malak, who took the stand Wednesday.

"There was a concern about them being non-accidental because of the location on the body," she added. "That it was an unusual location to have different ages of fracture."

But the fracture was not the initial reason for the hospital examination.

La Crosse Police Sgt. Miller said Dikeman's mother noticed the child losing weight, skin becoming loose and dry, and lethargic behavior.

Initial lab results indicated the possibility of diabetes, celiac disease, and/or malnutrition and neglect, according to the criminal complaint.

Dikeman's mother also expressed concerns to Sgt. Miller about the child being forced to sit on the toilet.

"If there were any type of wetting accidents then the parents would have (the child) sit on the toilet for long periods of time. Some of those times would be 15 to 45 minutes," Miller said.

The judge entered not guilty pleas on Dikeman and Barnes' behalves.

Barnes and Dikeman are due back in court May 7.

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