A Pennsylvania couple was arrested after a 12-year-old’s body was discovered in what authorities have called a “house of horrors.” The gruesome scene paints a tragic picture of the hell that became this child’s life — and death.
Forty-one-year-old Scott Schollenberger Jr and his thirty-five-year-old fiancée Kimberly Maurer landed themselves behind bars after police discovered a 12-year-old’s battered and emaciated body in the central Pennsylvania couple’s home. The body, found around noon on a Tuesday, belonged to Schollenberger’s 12-year-old son, Maxwell, and it was far from the only disturbing discovery detectives uncovered.
Maxwell not only died battered and emaciated, he never received medical care, wasn’t enrolled in school, and was rarely seen even by his siblings, who lived in the same house in Annville, Lebanon County, according to detectives Todd Hirsch and David Shaffer. In addition to being starved and beaten, Maxwell was kept imprisoned in a feces-caked, darkened, locked room for years, where he died, covered in feces.
In fact, what investigators found was a “house of horrors,” the detectives said, according to PennLive. Maxwell’s feces-covered body was found completely naked, sprawled across a bed that was covered in human waste, in a room that was caked with so much waste, which had become so old, it had turned moldy. But, that wasn’t even the worst of it.
“Claw marks appeared in the child victim’s sheets,” Detectives Hirsch and Shaffer wrote. “Such marks made indentations on the stained feces.”
According to Hirsch and Shaffer, the only furniture in the boy’s room was his soiled bed. There wasn’t a single toy, and there were no lights in his room. In addition, the window shades were closed with duct tape so the child had no access to sunlight or even a view of the outside world, and metal hooks kept the room locked from the outside.
Even though the room was closed off from the rest of the home, the smell of human waste permeated the second floor of the house on the first block of South White Oak Street. Every piece of clothing the detectives found was covered in feces. Detectives said that the boy was “very thin,” weighing only 47 1/2 pounds — about half the average weight for a boy his age, and his stomach was bloated.
A cup near the bed where he was discovered held just an inch of water, and there were indications that Maxwell would have been too week to stand or walk, the detectives wrote. In addition, the child appeared to have suffered head trauma with his death attributed to “blunt force head trauma complicating starvation/malnutrition.”
A little over three months after the child’s emaciated and battered body was found, Scott Schollenberger Jr and Kimberly Maurer were arrested and charged with criminal homicide, conspiracy, and child endangerment for killing 12-year-old Maxwell by starving, beating, and keeping him imprisoned in a feces-caked, darkened, and locked room for years, WFMZ reported. They were ordered held without bail.
According to the detectives, Maurer, who had been a caregiver for the boy since he was 2, said that she became Maxwell’s caregiver because his father “expressed extreme frustration” toward the boy and was afraid of hurting him, even though both Schollenberger and Maurer denied the boy suffered from any mental or physical disorder.
Schollenberger and Maurer’s other children received regular medical care, attended school, and “appeared to be healthy, well-adjusted, and cared for,” but the siblings “reported hardly ever seeing the victim prior to his death” and were told to ignore and not speak to the 12-year-old, Daily Mail reported. Detectives added, “Some of (Schollenberger’s and Maurer’s) family and friends also reported not seeing the victim in quite some time and some were not even aware of his existence.”
This child existed in a lonely hell beyond all comprehension, where death was probably a welcomed escape. In the words of Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf: “Max Schollenberger existed – I will not call this living – in a state of perpetual suffering; he existed in the most egregious and foul of conditions. He remained starved, locked away, and isolated until his killing. This child never looked forward to his first day of school, blew out candles on a birthday cake, or experienced the unconditional love of family. Max Schollenberger died in soiled sheets, covered in his own feces.” And, his so-called parents did this to him. I don’t know of anything eviler than that.