Mom ‘never showed remorse’ in child neglect case

LAFAYETTE COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) -- A Lafayette County couple is facing multiple charges of child neglect and physical abuse, after doctors found their daughters severely malnourished.

25-year-old Dalton Hopper and 26-year-old Jamie Weigel face a combined eight charges, including physical abuse of a child and chronic neglect of a child.

Doctors say their 4-month-old and 1-year-old daughters were both underweight. At a weigh-in in late March, the infant weighed less than she did when she was born.

When doctors checked on the infant, they found her ribs were visible, with little to no fat or muscle tissue on her body.

Court documents show Weigel admitted to under feeding the girls, saying she sometimes fed the baby “once or twice a day,” and let her develop bed sores and rashes. Weigel went on to tell investigators that she bathed the kids “approximately once a week.”

Doctors determined no medical issue would have caused the significant weight drop, describing it as “definite starvation” and “definite neglect.” They went on to say the 4-month-old “could have died from malnutrition in as little as a week’s time.”

Hopper told investigators his daughters were not malnourished due to poverty, lack of food, or lack of medical care. Weigel said she didn’t take the children to a doctor because of “pure laziness” and that she was afraid of being “judged.”

Texts between the couple show Weigel saying things like, “She is gonna die,” “I’m going to end up hurting her,” and “It is taking everything I have not to smother her.”

More messages show Weigel threatening to leave the girls home alone, and would ignore their cries for hours.

She later texted Hopper, “If I take her to a doctor I’ll get neglect because of her weight,” and “They are going to put me in jail Dalton, I know they are.”

The girls were taken to the University of Wisconsin Children’s Hospital for treatment. Doctors say both girls could face developmental delays and permanent brain damage from neglect.

Weigel and Hopper are due back in court in the next few weeks.