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Couple accused of torture now bound over for trial

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MADISON — A Madison couple accused of starving and torturing the man's 15-year-old daughter will be bound over for trial. Their preliminary hearing wrapped up on Friday.

A doctor who examined the girl last month after the teen ran away from home wearing thin pajamas testified in court Friday. Dr. Barbara Knox told the court the victim weighed 68 pounds last month when she was taken into police custody. She says the victim was the weight of an average nine-and-a-half year old -- and the height of an average 11-year-old child.

The victim's father, Chad Chritton, and stepmother, Melinda Drabek-Chritton, face child abuse and neglect charges.

In video testimony earlier this week, the 15-year-old said the couple locked her in the basement with an alarm on the top of the stairs. She says because the Chrittons got mad when she set off the alarm, she went to the bathroom in containers in the basement. And when she got hungry, she would try to sneak food, even eating it off the floor.

Dr. Knox testified the girl has been eating a great deal and has already gained at least 15 pounds since being removed from the home.

"She ordered as much as she could off the menus, many times ordering 7, 8 9 items and would horde those foods, she would tuck away the ones that she couldn't stuff herself with and then try and eat them later. This is very symbolic of what we see in kids who have been chronically deprived of nutrition," said Dr. Knox.

In cross-examination, a defense attorney mentioned reports from the victim's father that the girl has psychiatric issues. He says she was out of control, has rage issues, and has threatened family members in the past.