Mother of eight adopted children arrested after the death of her nine-year-old daughter

A woman from Rhode Island, USA, was arrested after her nine-year-old adopted daughter, whose condition required special attention, was found dead in the bath at the residence.

Michelle Rothgeb was arrested on Sunday on charges of cruelty and neglect of a child, according to the Warwick Police Department.

Police were called to Rothgeb’s home on January 3, where they discovered the body of the nine-year-old girl who was wheelchair-bound. The woman told the police that she had given her 15-year-old adopted boy with Asperger’s syndrome the responsibility to look after the other seven adopted children of Rothgeb, according to WJAR.

The 15-year-old told the police that he put his sister in the bath with a few inches of water to wash, after which he went to the kitchen to prepare a meal and take care of the other children. Police documents indicate that the body of the 9-year-old girl was left in the bath for up to eight hours.

When the police entered the residence, they also noticed that the floors were covered with garbage, that the bedding was dirty and that smell of urine stank the house.

“The conditions under which these children were found are completely unacceptable,” said Trista Piccola, director of the Department of Child Protection and Youth.

Ms. Piccola added that a “series of unreasonable decisions” made by “well-meaning people” could have allowed Rothgeb to adopt as many children despite the unsanitary conditions in which they grew up.

An employee of the department was put on leave and three others saw their responsibilities diminished as a result of the girl’s death. The other seven children were removed from the house and “are doing well” under the circumstances, the director said.

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