Two young brothers escaped from their mother Katie Koch (right) and her boyfriend Joel Manke (left) (Pictures: Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office)
Two young brothers were seen running away from home after their mother and her boyfriend allegedly imprisoned them in horror movie-esque conditions.
A neighbor spotted the boys, aged 7 and 10, looking out from home through a shattered window on Thursday and then climbing out onto an air conditioning unit, according to a criminal complaint obtained by CBS 58. The brothers, naked, then got into the yard and onto the street.
The boys ‘were acting like cavemen, like they had never seen the sun before’, a child witness said.
Their mother, Katie Koch, 34, and her boyfriend Joel Manke, 38, appeared in intake court on Monday.
The boys were seen escaping out a window of the home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Picture: TMJ4 News)
Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Mallory Davis said the boys were largely confined to a locked room with boarded up windows and that the living conditions resembled those of a horror movie.
A responding officer said the home reeked of feces and urine and that garbage was stacked up in the living room and kitchen, and that the walls were smeared with feces. The floor was not visible in the ‘terrible hoarding situation’, officers said.
Koch told officers that her sons had broken a window of their home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and escaped.
Christine Eder, who lives across the street, said she knew ‘absolutely nothing’ about Koch and Manke and ‘never saw’ either of them.
The mother, Katie Koch, has been charged with four felony counts and two misdemeanors around child neglect and false imprisonment (Picture: Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office)
Eder said the brothers while escaping looked like ‘they had never been outside before. If they have been, it’s been a very long time’.
‘They were just walking different. Their hair looked like it had never been brushed, never been cut,’ Eder said. ‘They didn’t know the outside existed.’
Eder kept watch on the boys while having her husband call 911.
Koch and Manke each face four felony counts. Additionally, Koch faces two misdemeanors around child neglect and false imprisonment. A judge set cash bail at $30,000 and $6,500 for Koch and Manke, respectively. Their preliminary hearings are scheduled for July 26.
The boyfriend, Joel Manke, faces four felony counts (Picture: Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office)
If convicted on all the felony counts, Koch and Manke face up to 43.5 years in prison and $120,000 in fines each. If convicted on the two misdemeanor counts, Koch faces an additional 18 months behind bars and $20,000 in fines.
The brothers are now under protective custody.
‘I’m glad that those children were able to escape,’ said Mayor Cavalier Johnson on Tuesday.
‘That’s a terrible, unfortunate situation. No kid should have to endure that sort of experience, especially not with relatives of theirs, in any home, in any community in Milwaukee, or Wisconsin, or the United States.’
The two brothers escaped about two months after a 10-year-old boy was found starving and begging for food in an upscale suburb in Georgia, as his parents were arrested and charged with attempted murder.
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