Pennsylvania Boy Lived In “State Of Perpetual Suffering” Before His Death, D.A. Says
Scott Schollenberger Jr. and Kimberly Maurer are accused of homicide after their 12-year-old child wasted away to 47.5 pounds.
A Pennsylvania couple has been arrested in connection with the death of 12-year-old Max Schollenberger, who police said was kept locked in a room for so long that some family and friends of the suspects didn’t even know he existed.
Scott Schollenberger Jr., 42, and Kimberly Maurer, 35 — Max’s biological father and guardian — now face charges of criminal homicide, endangering the welfare of a child, and conspiracy, Harrisburg’s WHTM-TV reported.
On May 26, Maurer allegedly told a neighbor about Max’s death. The neighbor then called the Annville Township Police Department. When officers arrived at Schollenberger Jr. and Maurer’s home, they discovered Max’s nude body in a bed covered with waste.
A forensic autopsy showed the 50-inch-tall boy weighed just 47.5 pounds and likely died from a combination of malnutrition, starvation and blunt-force trauma to the head, according to WHTM-TV.
Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf said at a Sept. 14 news conference that Max “existed in a state of perpetual suffering” and was kept “in the most deplorable, the foulest, the most heinous of human conditions.”
Schollenberger Jr., who had sole custody of his son, and Maurer allegedly kept Max in a barren second-floor bedroom locked from the outside with three metal hooks. The room had no lights and the windows were screwed shut and covered with shades duct-taped to the frames, York’s WPMT reported, citing court documents.
Three other children in the couple’s care appeared healthy and “would describe the foul stench that emanated from Max Schollenberger’s bedroom [and] how they were told to ignore him and not talk to him,” Graf said.
One child told investigators that when Schollenberger Jr. or Maurer would enter Max’s bedroom, he “would scream and he would cry,” the district attorney added.
In the course of the investigation, detectives reportedly learned Max, unlike the other children, never received an education and hadn’t seen a doctor in at least 10 years.
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.
Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf
“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,” Graf said, noting, “Murders such as these are haunting, both for the community and for the law enforcement involved.”
Schollenberger Jr. and Maurer, who are both being held without bail, have denied Max suffered any mental or physical disorders.
The district attorney has declined to publicly discuss a possible motive for the alleged abuse.
The trial is expected to begin in November.