Stepmother takes deal in starved teen case - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Stepmother takes deal in starved teen case

By TODD RICHMOND
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A Wisconsin woman accused of torturing and starving her teenage stepdaughter has pleaded no contest to child abuse-related charges.

Melinda Drabek-Chritton entered the plea Monday to first-degree reckless endangering safety and causing mental harm to a child. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing purposes.

Both charges are felonies carrying a combined maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

She entered the pleas in a deal that came hours before her trial was to start. Prosecutors agreed to drop four other felony counts as part of the deal.

Investigators say the woman and her husband, Chad Chritton, the girl's father, kept the girl locked in their basement, tortured her and starved her down to 68 pounds.

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