COPY-Expert in Chritton trial: Teen girl was starved - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

COPY-Expert in Chritton trial: Teen girl was starved

MADISON (WKOW) -- A child abuse expert testified Tuesday in the retrial of Chad Chritton, and told jurors Chritton's teen daughter was the victim of starvation.

UW-Hospital physician Dr. Barbara Knox said she became involved in the care of Chritton's then-15 year old daughter, days after the girl was found in pajamas and no shoes on a McFarland street in cold, February weather last year.

Knox testified the teen's weight of sixty-eight pounds, place on a standard growth curve, and interruption of puberty, combined with the teen saying she had been regularly denied food, was consistent with starvation. Knox said the girl's condition had to be monitored closely because her depleted state made her a risk for heart failure.

Knox said the girl told her she was afraid to leave her basement quarters to scavenge for food because she could trip an alarm and face stern punishment from family members. Knox testified the teen related punishments to include being beaten, forced to do household chores naked, and having her hair cut off in clumps by her stepmother and younger half-brothers.

Prosecutors are expected to rest their case Tuesday afternoon. 

Chritton, who convicted of felony child neglect in March, is being retried on four other felony counts after the March jury deadlocked on those charges.

The girl's stepmother, Melinda Drabek-Chritton is serving a prison sentence in connection to her mistreatment of the teen. Her stepbrother, Joshua Drabek, faces a February trial for what authorities say was his sexual assault of the girl.

Chritton's attorney has said Chritton was overwhelmed by the girl's mental health issues, and received inadequate help from social service providers. 

Chritton's attorney also told 27 News Chritton is prepared to testify, although a decision on whether he takes the witness stand has not been made. Chritton did not testify in his first trial.

For more on developments in this trial, visit and watch 27 News.


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