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Man and Fiancée Imprisoned 12-Year-Old Boy in Room, Let Him Die in ‘Human Waste’: DA

Max Schollenberger, 12, did not get a chance to live, according to authorities in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.

“Max Schollenberger existed–I will not call this living, and I never will–He existed in a state of perpetual suffering.” Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf during a press conference on Monday morning. “He existed in the most deplorable, the foulest, the most heinous of human conditions.”

Authorites say the boy’s father Scott Fremont Schollenberger, 42, and that defendant’s fiancée Kimberly Marie Maurer, 35, imprisoned the victim in a secured room 24/7. There were locks on the door from the outside, while duct tape and screwed-in shutters blocked off the view of the windows, Graf said. Maurer was described in the press conference as acting as the boy’s mother. She was described as Schollenberger’s fiancée in a report from the Pocono Record.

Graf declined to go into much detail regarding how the situation was discovered. She said that Maurer had spoken to a neighbor, who ended up calling the cops. Police said they found Max naked in his room on the bed on May 26. The bed was soaked in fecal matter and human waste, Graf said. Under the frame were moldy piles of feces, and the bed was surrounded by fecal matter on the floor, the DA said. Schollenberger was covered in “his own human waste.” He did not have access to a bathroom, Graf said. He had little-to-no muscle mass, and had weakened bones consistent with malnutrition, authorities said.

It did not seem like the body had been there for a substantial period of time, Graf said. An autopsy determined the victim died from blunt force trauma, complicating starvation, and malnutrition. Graf said that “blunt force trauma” could mean any number of things that involve contact with the child’s body and an external surface resulting in internal injuries.

According to Graf, Scott Schollenberger and Maurer had three other children together. Those kids were described as apparently being happy and healthy, and–unlike their half-brother–was enrolled in school and received treatment from the doctor, according to the official account. The siblings were described as being under age 5. Max, more than twice their age, had never been enrolled in school, and had not been to a doctor in over a decade, according to the DA’s account.

The other children were told to ignore Max and not to talk to him, Graf said. They were described as being well-cared for, with lots of food in the kitchen and cabinets, and that the victim was fed from their table scrapes. But even if the defendants allegedly did feed the deceased child, he could not eat it. His body was not in a position to digest food, Graf said.

It has been months since the tragic discovery. The DA attributed the time between then and the recent arrests on Friday as due to having to do their jobs to investigate the case: the autopsy, interviewing everyone involved, getting child welfare services to care for the other children, and so forth. That took time, she said. Graf said this was one of the worst, if not the worst crime she had seen as a prosecutor. In responding to a reporter’s question, however, Graf said they did not have the aggravating factors for the death penalty. Graf declined to comment on the motive, citing the early stage of the case.

Scott Schollenberger and Maurer are being held at the Lebanon County Correctional Facility without bail, authorities say. They are both charged with criminal homicide, criminal conspiracy to commit criminal homicide, and endangering the welfare of children. It is unclear if they have attorneys in this matter.

[Mugshots of Scott Schollenberger and Kimberly Maurer via Lebanon County]

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