Teenager from Wausau, weighing only 58 pounds at 15 years old, nearly dies due to alleged years of starvation

According to court documents, the father and stepmother of a Wausau teenager who suffered from alleged starvation and neglect are now facing felony charges.

Tristan and Brittany Hull, who have been held in jail since early November, are facing formal charges that were filed on Thursday, December 7. The charges include chronic neglect of a child resulting in bodily harm and intentional physical abuse of a child. Currently, both parents are being held on a cash bond of $1 million.

The criminal complaint, filed on Thursday, reads like the script of a horror movie.

On October 15, an investigation was initiated after rescue teams were called to the Rib Mountain residence of the couple. Tristan Hull dialed 911 to report a medical emergency involving his daughter. According to the call, the girl had ingested a protein drink and started experiencing symptoms such as gargling, shaking, and difficulty swallowing. The situation quickly escalated as she became unresponsive and stiffened. EMS workers tirelessly performed CPR on her for approximately 25 minutes before she was rushed to a nearby hospital and subsequently airlifted to Marshfield for further treatment.

According to court documents, the girl, weighing a mere 58 pounds, fell below the lowest weight on the average curve for her age. As a result of severe dehydration, her organs started to fail, and she also experienced bone marrow failure due to malnutrition.

According to investigators, as the girl made progress in her recovery, she revealed that she is homeschooled and that her stepmother prohibited her from having breakfast with her siblings or enjoying snacks. The girl’s parents allegedly informed her that she had ADHD and an unidentified medical condition that made it challenging for her to gain weight. Consequently, court records indicate that the girl was informed by her stepmother that she would be placed on a “special diet” based on her own research. However, medical professionals at the hospital found no evidence of such a medical condition, as stated in court records.

According to the girl, she claims that during meal times, she was made to sit in the living room and not allowed to eat with her family. Additionally, she states that her stepmother restricted her water intake to just 16 ounces per day. The girl also mentioned that there were instances when she felt so weak that her stepmother had to help her eat by spoon-feeding her, as her wrist would hurt when she tried to pick up utensils.

A detective recently examined the footage captured by a security camera in the girl’s room, weeks after the medical emergency was reported. It was observed that there were no blankets or bedding in her room, but instead, books were taped to the mattress, which would restrict her sleeping position. The videos further revealed disturbing scenes of the girl being compelled to stand with her hands raised for hours, trembling and in tears. Shockingly, Tristan and Brittany were captured on camera entering the room and forcing the girl to raise her hands even higher, despite her visible distress.

Investigators noted that there were no indications of malnutrition in the other children residing in the home. They also discovered that the girl’s bedroom was equipped with locks on the doors and windows, along with a functional alarm system installed on the bedroom door.

The local pastor, upon hearing about the medical emergency, proactively reached out to the authorities to express his concerns about possible child abuse. According to court documents, the pastor revealed that he and the church staff had been observing the gradual deterioration of the girl’s health over a span of years. They were deeply worried that she was being consistently deprived of nourishment, to the extent that she was “literally starving.” The pastor’s vigilance in reporting the situation to the police highlights the seriousness of the child’s condition.

According to court records, the girl’s condition started to improve and she began gaining weight after being admitted to the hospital.

Tristan and Brittany Hull appeared before Reserve Judge Jill Falstad on November 3 for a probable cause hearing, during which a cash bond was ordered.

During their initial appearances on Thursday, December 7, Circuit Judge LaMont Jacobson decided to maintain the $1 million bond for both defendants. He also ordered them to have no contact with each other or with any children in the home, ensuring that they remain behind bars.

The preliminary hearings in Marathon County Circuit Court are scheduled for December 18th.

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MBS Staff
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