Officials: Baby found nearly eaten alive by rats, parents charged

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 12:24 PM HST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE/Gray News) - Indiana officials have arrested the parents of a 6-month-old baby after they said the child was found nearly eaten alive by rats.

Arrest affidavits obtained by WFIE show David and Angel Schonabaum and Delaina Thurman are facing child neglect charges.

Officers responded to a home in Evansville on Sept. 13 after David Schonabaum reportedly told them he found his 6-month-old son in his bassinet, covered in blood.

The baby was taken to an area hospital before being flown to another hospital in Indianapolis.

David and Angel Schonabaum and Delaina Thurman
David and Angel Schonabaum and Delaina Thurman(Vanderburgh County Jail)

Police said the baby had more than 50 rat bites to his forehead, cheek, nose, thigh, foot and toes.

They said the baby’s right arm had bites from the elbow down to his hand. All of the fingers reportedly had parts missing, leaving the bones exposed.

Officials said the baby’s temperature was 93.5 degrees, and he needed a blood transfusion.

Authorities also said a 3-year-old and 6-year-old were living in the home.

Thurman, who is the sister of Angel Schonabaum, also had a 2-year-old and 5-year-old living in the home, police said.

Officials said the home was filled with clutter, trash and rat feces.

According to officers, David Schonabaum told them the house began to have a problem with mice and rats in March, and Terminix was treating the home.

The affidavit also said two of the children living in the house had told a teacher on Sept. 1 that their toes had been bitten by mice while they were sleeping.

The Indiana Department of Child Services had reportedly visited the home on Sept. 5.

Officials said Thurman told a DCS worker the marks on her child’s toes were probably just scratches from the bed frame.

DCS went over a safety plan with the family and said they would return on Sept. 14.

Police said the DCS’s past dealings with the family included a claim from 2022 that a child was hurt because of a lack of supervision. Additionally, a claim of physical abuse was made against David Schonabaum in June 2023.

Officials said a case manager had been visiting the home twice a week since April. The last walkthrough of the home was on Sept. 9.