A Minnesota father and stepmom were charged with murder this week in the death of the man’s 8-year-old daughter whose body was found severely emaciated, police said.
Police in Elk River responded to a call last Thursday of a girl who was found unresponsive in a bathtub, FOX 9 in Minneapolis reported.
Officers found Sarah Hallow, 28, performing chest compressions on Autumn Hallow, 8, who appeared “extremely frail and thin.” She was pronounced dead at the scene and investigators said she had likely been dead for "some time" before the call based on the condition of her body, the station reported.
Sarah Hallow and Brett Hallow, 30, were each charged with one count on second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter Monday. They are currently being held without bond, according to People.
Autumn's body was described as “‘markedly cachectic’ with scant fatty tissue, atrophic musculature, atrophic thyroid and marked hair loss,” the medical examiner said, according to the charges. She weighed 45 pounds when she died, People reported.
Brett and Sarah Hallow (Elk River Police Department and Sherburne County sheriff’s office )
She also had cuts and marks on her forehead, multiple bruises. Her fingers were blue when officers found her. An autopsy report found head trauma and said she likely died from asphyxiation, People reported.
Sarah Hallow allegedly told police she found Autumn face down in the bathtub that day. Officers didn’t find water in the tub but they found feces inside and blood in different parts of the bathroom.
The Hallow’s 6-year-old son and Sarah Hallow’s 10-year-old daughter allegedly told investigators that their parents would often tie Autumn up with a belt, a sweatshirt or a sleeping bag when she misbehaved, FOX 9 reported.
The 6-year-old alleged Autumn was sometimes kept in the sleeping bag overnight in the living room and at least once in the bathroom – and would only be allowed to eat or drink if one of them brought her food.
The boy allegedly said the day she died he heard her screaming in the bathroom as Sarah yelled at her and then a loud bang. He said his mother told him Autumn had fallen down.
After searching the apartment, investigators found the sweatshirt and another shirt the children said she had been tied up with soiled and human hair in a garbage bag in the bedroom, according to FOX 9.
Sarah Hallowallegedly told officers she had noticed Autumn was losing weight and hair and didn’t take her to the doctor but the couple denies the charges and tying her up.
Autumn's mother, Kelsey Kruse, in a Facebook post wrote, "Your father kept you from me for several months, and he then took your life. I hope you know how much I tried to get you. … All of your siblings were lucky to have a sister like you." She said the couple hadn't allowed her to see their daughter for months and she had been healthy the last time she saw her, according to People.
A 3-year-old child also lived in the home.