Tuesday, June 19, 2018

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Mom charged in disabled daughter’s death

  • Neglect-Death-Charges

    Nicole L. Gussert, 37, of Appleton, who is charged with one count of child neglect resulting in death and three counts of possession with intent to deliver amphetamine, was ordered held on a $300,000 cash bond on Monday, June 11, 2018, at the Outagamie County Justice Center in Appleton, Wis. Gussert is accused of neglecting her daughter who had disabilities, causing the 13-year-old girl's death. (Wm. Glasheen/The Post-Crescent via AP)

    Wm. Glasheen

  • Neglect-Death-Charges-1

    Greg Gussert, the father of Brianna Gussert listens in court as his ex-wife Nicole L. Gussert, 37 of Appleton, who is charged with one count of child neglect resulting in death and three counts of possession with intent to deliver amphetamine was held on a $300,000 cash bond on Monday, June 11, 2018 at the Outagamie County Justice Center in Appleton, Wis. Nicole Gussert is accused of neglecting her disabled daughter, causing the 13 year old girl's death. (Wm. Glasheen/The Post-Crescent via AP)

    Wm. Glasheen

APPLETON — A northeastern Wisconsin mother who admitted she couldn’t remember when she last fed or cleaned her severely disabled 13-year-old daughter has been charged with child neglect in the teen’s death.

Outagamie County District Attorney Melinda Tempelis said in court Monday that Brianna Gussert, who was unable to walk, talk or care for herself, suffered a “slow death.”

“This poor child struggled and suffered immensely because her mom did not check on her at all,” Tempelis said.

The police officer who discovered Brianna’s body during a welfare check May 29, 2017, said her bedroom smelled like “rotten food, human waste and death,” according to a criminal complaint. The Outagamie County coroner’s office estimates Brianna had died May 24.

The criminal complaint says her mother, Nicole Gussert, 37, left the girl alone for days during the Memorial Day weekend last year. Tempelis told the court that Gussert didn’t know when she had last fed her daughter, changed her diaper or bathed her. Tempelis said the home was unfit for habitation.

An autopsy indicates the primary cause of her death was sepsis, a blood infection. The criminal complaint says the skin under Brianna’s diaper had already started to decompose when her body was found.

Gussert also faces three counts of possession with intent to deliver amphetamine. She is being held on $300,000 cash bond.

Public defender Robert Welygan said criminal behavior has not been proven by the state.

If convicted on the child neglect charge, Gussert could be sentenced up to 25 years in prison. The drug charges each carry a maximum penalty of 12½ years.

Brianna was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, according to her father, Greg Gussert. The condition causes delayed growth and development, intellectual disability and seizures, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.

Greg Gussert said Brianna lived with her mother because she had more space.


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