SHAWANO - The criminal cases will continue against two Shawano County parents and their adult son accused of abusing and neglecting two children.
Shawano County Circuit Court Judge William Kussel on Friday ruled enough probable cause existed for the cases against Lisa Gutenberger, Gabriel Gutenberger and Dade Marthaler to continue.
Lisa Gutenberger, 40, and Gabriel Gutenberger, 39, of Waukechon, were both charged in July with two counts each of child abuse and child neglect causing great bodily harm.
Marthaler, 18, of Waukechon, was charged with child abuse causing great bodily harm and failing to report a crime.
Shawano County Sheriff's Deputy Cody Vigue, Detective Richard Wright, Shawano County Department of Human Services employee Angela Welch and Dr. Kristen Iniguez of the Marshfield Child Advocacy Center testified during Friday's preliminary hearing.
Vigue and Welch both responded to the Gutenbergers' home on June 22, 2020, after the couple's 15-year-old son slipped a note into his aunt's purse during church, asking for help. They testified that the children, the boy and his 13-year-old sister, both seemed reluctant and scared to talk at first. Both said the children looked like they were underweight.
Welch testified the boy told her he only got to eat breakfast about two times a week because he didn't finish his chores by a certain time. The boy also told Welch and Vigue that he had to sleep on the floor of a guest bedroom, where his parents put a camera and alarms in the room so they would know if he tried to leave. His sister slept in the same room because both had snuck food in the past, Welch said.
His sister also had to monitor him when he went to the bathroom, Welch said.
The boy told Welch and Vigue that he was not allowed to eat meals with the rest of the family and ate all of his meals alone in the guest bedroom. If the girl misbehaved, she also had to eat with her brother in the room, Welch said.
The parents limited what types of food the boy and girl were allowed to eat, Welch testified.
If the boy did something like bend his knees while he was weeding the lawn, his father, Gabriel Gutenberger, would hit him with a belt, Welch said. The boy's parents would also punish him and his sister by making them run laps around the driveway or withholding food and water, Welch said.
The boy said he once had to run 90 laps around the driveway, which measured about 13 miles, Wright said. The children often had to run the laps within a certain time, Wright testified.
Both children were removed from the home and Iniguez examined them at Marshfield Medical Center.
Iniguez said the boy was underweight and malnourished, and she diagnosed him with refeeding syndrome, meaning his body could not handle eating normal amounts of food. He had to be hospitalized. Iniguez said the girl was small for her age and her puberty had been delayed, likely because she was malnourished.
Iniguez testified she believes both children were neglected and physically and emotionally abused. Wright believed the abuse had been going on since at least 2015, he testified.
Wright was at the house when police executed search warrants at the home. Deputies took electronic devices, and found the camera and alarms from the guest room hidden in the basement, Wright said. Police recovered more than 200 videos from the camera, which showed the girl and boy in their room, including the boy sleeping on the floor.
The Gutenbergers and Marthaler are all free in lieu of signature bonds, according to court records. Their next court date is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. July 12.