6-month-old baby nearly dies after 50 rat bites

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — The parents and aunt of a 6-month-old baby are facing charges after the infant nearly died from 50 rat bites.

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Warning, the details of the case may be disturbing to some readers.

The Evansville Police Department responded to a call on Sept. 13 from David Schonabaum, who said his son was covered in blood. He also said that it looked like the baby’s fingers had been chewed, WEHT reported.

The baby was stabilized and taken to an Indianapolis hospital, where officials said the infant had more than 50 bites on his forehead, cheek and nose.

Doctors wrote in the baby’s medical file that it was a “near fatal event,” WEHT reported. The baby lost so much blood from the injuries that he needed blood transfusions, and several fingers had to be amputated because of the damage.

During the investigation, police said they found trash, including discarded food, in the baby’s room and what appeared to be rodent footprints in the blood.

David Schonabaum, his wife Angel Schonabaum and their three children lived in the home along with Angel Schonabaum’s sister, Delaina Thurman, and her two children.

David Schonabaum said he woke up at 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 13 to check on the baby and saw blood everywhere. That’s when he took the child to the bathroom with the help of Thurman and tried to wash off the blood. He noticed the injuries.

He told police that none of the other children in the home had been bitten, but Thurman had said that her oldest child and the oldest Schonabaum child had both told a teacher that their toes had been bitten by mice.

Thurman spoke with child services on Sept. 5, telling the department that the home had a “normal amount of mice” for their area.

She also said that she doubted the marks on the toes were from mice, WEVV reported.

The agency developed a safety plan and scheduled a visit with the family for Sept. 14.

Detectives said rats were living inside the home. David Schonabaum said the problem started in March, WEVV reported. Terminex had been called to service the property and gave the family traps and bait boxes. He said he would catch four rats a night as the infestation continued.

“The home was overwhelmed with rodents,” Sgt. Anna Gray told WEHT.

“Their excuse was that they did not hear the child cry,” she addded. “It’s kind of one of those situations where they were just not paying attention. The injuries were significant and the child was losing blood at a very high rate and the child had a lot of blood loss.”

WFIE reported that it was one of the worst cases police have seen.

“It’s really hard to see that and sometimes it’s really hard to maintain composure and be professional,” Gray told WFIE.

The Schonabaums had been reported to child services after one of the children had been injured, and they were under the agency’s services. Case managers noted that the house was cluttered, with trash sitting out and animal feces on the floor, but follow-up visits noted that the home was “slowly improving.”

David Schonabaum, Angel Schoanbaum and Thurman are all facing multiple child neglect charges.

The five children have been removed from their parents’ custody, WEVV reported.

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