WALWORTH CO. (WITI) -- A Genoa City father and stepmother, 46-year-old Michael Donahue and 37-year-old Carrie Donahue, are now charged with numerous crimes -- accused of doing the unthinkable to a 12-year-old boy. This is a case investigators in Walworth County have been working on for several months.
The criminal complaints against the Donahues says the abuse happened to the boy in a Genoa City home -- as well as a previous home in Bloomfield. Child protective service workers took the boy and another child out of the home in December after a man visiting reported what he saw.
Criminal complaints say Carrie and Michael Donahue would lock the boy in a "bedroom for 12 hours at a time, then yell at (the child) for urinating in the room."
On Michael Donahue's phone, police found photos of the child in unflattering situations such as "wearing a green wig, a pink and blue backpack, shoes and pull-ups, and the child appeared to be crying."
The complaint alleges the couple would not feed the child for days, the child would steal food, and for punishment, the couple allegedly "would make him keep his hands in his mouth until his lips would bleed." One time, after not eating for four days, the child told an investigator he "had to stand next to the dinner table and when everyone was eating in front of him, he got a plate and (Michael Donahue) dumped his plate in the sink and would not let him eat."
It was earlier, in September 2013, that the state got involved in monitoring the situation because the boy's school reported what was seemingly going on. The school reported the boy came to class wet, disheveled, dirty -- at one time, they had to shower him in the school locker room and give him fresh clothes.
School officials say he "had the word 'die' written multiple times on both arms" and he stole food because he was hungry. At the end of October, the boy was "found at the school with a shoelace tied around his neck."
FOX6 News asked police how the child is doing now that he's in protective custody. Officials say he seems to be thriving.
Why did it take so long to charge this couple? The Genoa City police say it took time to interview 20 subjects and execute three search warrants.
If convicted, the Donahues each face up to 12-and-a-half years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.