Nicole L. Gussert, 37, of Appleton, Wisconsin was charged in the death of her daughter on Monday.
Post Crescent reports that the mother said she didn’t remember the last time she had fed her 13-year-old daughter who had special needs.
When police found Brianna during a welfare check — after she had missed school for months — authorities said her diaper weighed 1.25 pounds and her bedroom smelled like “rotten food, human waste and death.”
Gussert left Brianna home alone over Memorial Day weekend last year and didn’t change, feed, or bathe her daughter. Police were called after she had already been dead for five days.
Outagamie County District Attorney Melinda Tempelis said Monday:
“This poor child struggled and suffered immensely because her mom did not check on her at all.”
Tempelis called the end of Brianna’s life a “slow death.”
Brianna’s father Greg Gussert told the news station he and his ex-wife have three other children together. The 13-year-old, his youngest, stayed with her mother while Greg was in the process of buying a home that could accommodate Brianna’s adjustable bed.
In the weeks leading up to her death, he said that things seemed normal. Greg said the child was loved and that “this is a tragedy.” He added:
“It’s a child who was taken away from her father, from her sisters, from her grandparents, from teachers and friends. She was taken too soon. She was such an inspiration and a wonderful child. And happy, she was happy all the time.”
According to her father, the 13-year-old was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes seizures, delayed growth, and developmental disabilities.
Fox 11 reports that Gussert was charged with one count of child neglect that caused the death of her daughter. She also faces three counts of possession with intent to deliver amphetamine.Outagamie County Jail
Gussert is being held on a $300,000 bond and has a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.