Bloodied Children Lead Police To Discover House Of Horrors

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A neighborhood was left shaken after two bloodied and bewildered children were seen climbing out of a window and escaping into the street. Concerned by the children’s condition, neighbors called the police, who arrived at the scene and quickly discovered a “house of horrors,” like “something out of a horror movie.” This is truly the stuff of nightmares.

Katie Koch Joel Manke
Katie Koch and her boyfriend Joel Manke (Photo Credit: Instagram)

A Wisconsin couple — 34-year-old Katie Koch and her boyfriend, 38-year-old Joel Manke — became the focus of an investigation after Milwaukee police were called to their home following a complaint from concerned neighbors, who had spotted two children seemingly attempting to escape the home. Once the police got inside, it was easy to see why the kids were so desperate to get out.

Chris Eder was one of the neighbors who spotted the children after they climbed out a window of the home and onto an air conditioning unit before running off into the street. It was a sight she will never forget, and she immediately knew something was wrong. “They didn’t have any clothes on. None. Their hair was, you know, it just looked like it had never been brushed,” Chris recalled, but that wasn’t the worst of it.

Joel Manke’s home, where Katie Koch lived with her two children (Photo Credit: Screenshot)
Although windows had been boarded shut, the children managed to escape. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

In addition to being unclothed, the children were covered in blood, feces, and bruises, but it was the look on their faces that really struck Chris. “I’m not going to ever forget the way they looked when they came running out of that house, never forget that,” said Chris, who called 911. “Their faces [were] pure bewilderment. They were just looking all around. I don’t think they’d ever been outside before,” she continued. When neighbors tried to talk with the children, they were met with confusion, according to Fox 6.

When police arrived, a group of neighbors pointed them to the home where Katie Koch lived, saying she had “violently dragged” one of the two kids back inside. As an officer walked toward the house, he heard “what he believed to be a quieted cry or whimper” before Koch exited the residence through a side door, appearing “flustered and anxious,” The Daily Beast reported.

Katie Koch
Katie Koch (Photo Credit: Instagram)
Joel Manke
Joel Manke (Photo Credit: Instagram)

Koch, who reportedly paced and swayed her body, appeared agitated and overall disheveled. “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so afraid,” she repeated over and over. When officers entered the residence, it became clear why she seemed so uncomfortable. Inside the home, police found deplorable conditions, described as a “terrible hoarding situation” with the floor barely visible beneath all the debris. The house reeked of feces and urine, and the children’s room had feces smeared all over the walls, but that wasn’t the only thing covered in excrement.

The children were also covered in feces as well as blood, bruises, and red marks, prompting authorities to transport them to the hospital. In fact, there was so much feces in the children’s hair that their heads had to be shaved at the hospital because it was so terribly matted with excrement. Disturbingly, when their mother was told about this, she simply replied that it was “okay” because the children needed a haircut. Of course, there was nothing okay about the children’s condition, and authorities were about to make that abundantly clear.

Katie Koch
Katie Koch being placed in handcuffs (Photo Credit: Screenshot)
Joel Manke
Joel Manke being placed under arrest (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Katie Koch and Joel Manke were arrested with Manke allegedly admitting to police that he had locked the children — two boys ages 7 and 9 years old — in their room to keep them from wandering because of their autism. “These children were essentially confined to their room for much of their lives,” Milwaukee County assistant district attorney Mallory Davis told a court. “The door had the locks from the outside and the windows boarded shut.”

Davis also described the alleged conditions at the home to the court, saying, “I have finally been able to review videos and photographs of the home, and I can tell you that almost every inch of their walls was covered in human feces.” In addition, investigators revealed that the children had not been properly schooled or even toilet-trained. In short, the boys “would not be able to function in society,” The Blaze reported.

Katie Koch
Katie Koch (Photo Credit: Milwaukee Sheriff’s Department)
Joel Manke
Joel Manke (Photo Credit: Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department)

Both Koch and Manke were charged with two felony counts each of chronic neglect of a child and false imprisonment. Koch, who reportedly had an Instagram account that showed she may have an interest in witchcraft, was also charged with two counts of neglecting a child. According to prosecutors, the mother wrote her boys a three-page apology, which hardly seems adequate when all things are considered.

To be clear, these children were locked in a squalid bedroom with boarded-up windows for years on end. They were never enrolled in school. Neither could read or write, and one of the two was unable to form full sentences, according to the criminal complaint filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Neighbors who spotted the older boy outside after his escape said the older boy was “walking on the sidewalk like a ‘caveman.'”

Prosecutors described Manke’s three-bedroom, one-bath home, where Koch and her boys lived with him for about three and a half years, as “like something out of a horror movie.” And, that was the only life these boys knew. The complaint said it was “literally uninhabitable” with mounds of trash and garbage, and this was “home” for these children. Joel Manke himself admitted that he knew the conditions in which the children were being forced to live were very wrong, but he said that he had learned to “pick his battles” with Katie Koch.

When it comes to children and their overall well-being, I can’t think of a more worthy battle to fight. Instead, this monster of a mother allowed her children to become feral, and her boyfriend didn’t just watch. By his own admission, he participated, locking the doors and boarding the windows. As the prosecution said, “These children have been horribly damaged [by] their mother’s actions,” and there simply isn’t an apology letter long enough to repair the damage this woman and her boyfriend caused these innocent boys.