Mother charged with child neglect
Neighbors told police an 8-year-old boy was dirty, hungry and left home alone for the entire day.
Trisha L. Bennett, 35, Waupaca, is charged with misdemeanor child neglect and felony bail jumping.
Shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday, July 29, Waupaca Police Officers Paul Benzschawel and Thomas Grant conducted a welfare check at a home on the 300 block of Wisconsin Street.
A 911 caller had reported a boy was at her house, had been left home alone and he did not know where his parents were.
When the officers arrived, Benzschawel spoke with the woman who made the call, while Grant spoke with the boy.
The woman said she was at her boyfriend’s house for a birthday party when her daughter came to her and said there was a little boy outside and they did not know who he was.
According to the criminal complaint, the boy told the woman his parents had been gone since that morning and he did not know where they were.
The woman walked the boy to his home on the 400 block of Scott Street, but nobody was there, so she brought him back to her house.
The boy told Grant he had been at another birthday party at a “pink house” down the street.
Benzschawel went to the home on the 300 block of Wisconsin Street and spoke to a woman who said the boy showed up at about 5 p.m. during a birthday party. He had not been invited, but she allowed him to stay and fed him.
She said she was concerned because he was dirty, hungry and not wearing any shoes.
She told the officer the boy is constantly left home alone, wanders about the neighborhood and is “always hungry.”
The woman had planned to walk the boy back home after the birthday party, but she discovered he had left her house and gone to the other party.
Benzschawel asked dispatch to try calling the boy’s parents, but they were unable to reach them.
Officer Brent Wittman made contact with the boy’s grandmother, who agreed to take care of the boy.
According to the criminal complaint, Bennett made first contact with the grandmother regarding the boy after 8 p.m. on Sunday, July 30.
On Sept. 1, Bennett was convicted of two counts of credit card fraud, with 13 credit card charges dismissed but read into the record for sentencing purposes.
Then Judge Philip Kirk sentenced her to 30 days and gave her 60 days to report to the county jail.
On Nov. 22, 2016, a warrant was issued for Bennett’s arrest because she had not reported to the jail.
On Feb. 9, 2017, Bennett was taken into custody and brought before Judge Vicki Clussman, who ordered that Bennet began serving her 30 days immediately.
On May 16, Bennett was charged with felony failure to report to jail and faces up to six years in prison if convicted.
On June 6, Bennett made her initial court appearance before Judge Raymond Huber and was released from custody on a $1,000 signature bond.
After she appeared in court on the child neglect charge, Huber granted her release from custody on a $2,000 signature bond with the condition that she not leave her child alone.
Waupaca police were called to Bennett’s Scott Street home on two occasions in August and November 2016 in response to domestic disturbance complaints.
The boy’s father, Cory A. Stephens, 35, was charged both times with misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct.
On June 28, the battery charges against Stephens were dismissed but read into the record, while Huber approved a deferred prosecution agreement on the disorderly conduct charges.
Conditions of the 12-month agreement require Stephens to obtain counseling, engage in no criminal conduct, have no violent or abusive contact with Bennett, and write and submit a monthly compliance report to the district attorney’s office.