OCONTO - An Oconto County man and his wife have been bound over for trial on multiple felony child abuse and neglect charges.
Shawn Paholke, 33, and Jennifer Fendryk, 31, both of the town of Breed in northwest Oconto County, were charged on Sept. 23 with a total of 23 felony counts between the two - all relating to the treatment of Paholke's two young daughters, ages 5 and 7.
The two each waived their right to a preliminary hearing on the charges in court Wednesday.
According to the criminal complaint, when the investigation into the couple and Paholke's children started in May, the 5-year-old weighed 24 pounds (40 pounds is considered healthy for her age). According to court documents, a social worker reported to investigators that the girl's collarbone could be seen protruding from her shirt. "Bones were protruding from her face and body," said the complaint.
The 5-year-old also told investigators she was locked in her dark, sparsely furnished, toyless bedroom at all times and only allowed out to exercise, scrub the floor and use the bathroom. The social worker reported the room's single window was covered with a piece of cardboard screwed into the wall. She also told investigators she couldn't play with her sister or Fendryk's 8-year-old son, who also lived in the home.
Paholke and Fendryk admitted to investigators, according to the criminal complaint, that they would withhold food and lock her in her room for disciplinary reasons.
In the complaint, the 7-year-old told investigators her father used plastic zip ties to tie her hands to a pole on July 4, 2012 - at which point it's believed she passed out from heat stroke. Medical records show that five days later, the girl was taken to a Green Bay hospital to treat second- and third-degree burns to her arms. The complaint says Paholke told doctors at the time the girl had slipped and her arm got stuck on the hot deck. In interviews with investigators, Paholke denied zip tying her to a pole, but did admit using zip ties on her arms and wrists for 10 minutes as a part of a time out, according to the complaint.
Fendryk is not the biological mother of the two girls, but her 8-year-old son also lived in the home. The complaint does not allege any abuse against him. Authorities would not confirm where the children are now.
Bond for Fendryk was set at $250,000; Paholke's will be argued at a later date. Arraignment hearings are set for later this month. Neither the prosecutor nor the defense attorneys would speak about case specifics after the hearing.
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