Authorities have released more details about the horrifying death of a 12-year-old boy who may have been held captive in his own home for years before he was found dead in unspeakable conditions.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, responding police officers found a 12-year-old boy, since identified as Maxwell Schollenberger, dead in a bedroom in his Annville Township home on May 26. The boy was found naked in a bed that was covered in feces, and police observed claw marks on the bedsheets. The windows had been sealed completely shut, there was no natural or electrical light in the room, and police found three metal hooks on the door that investigators believe was used to keep Max locked in the room.
Matt’s biological father Scott Schollenberger Jr., 42, and Scott’s wife Kimberly Mauer 35, have been charged with facing criminal homicide and endangering the welfare of children.
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Court documents obtained by Fox 43 News show that investigators found only one cup with an inch of water in the bedroom. The documents also indicate that the boy was essentially held captive in the room for several years: He was never enrolled in school, and had not seen a doctor in over a decade.
Even children who lived in the home said they hardly ever saw Max, and one or more children reportedly told police they were not aware that Max existed. It is unclear from the report how many children besides Max lived in the home. Those children, who are believed to be the biological offspring of both suspects, appeared to be cared for and healthy.
The suspects reportedly told police that Max did not suffer from any physical or mental disabilities.
A medical examiner found that the boy was severely malnourished, with limited muscle mass on all four of his limbs along with weakened bones, according to the report. At age 12, Max weighed only 47.5 pounds and was 50 inches tall.
Doctor Michael W. Johnson, who performed the autopsy on the boy’s body, determined that Max died of homicide, noting injuries to the boy’s head along with the results of long-term starvation.
“In my medical opinion, this 12-year-old child died as the result of blunt force head trauma complicating starvation/malnutrition,” the doctor wrote in the autopsy report obtained by Fox 43 News.
At a news conference Monday, Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf spoke of the heinous abuse and neglect the boy suffered until his death.
“Today marks the first step in the long path of justice for this little boy. Max Schollenberger existed – I will not call this living – in a state of perpetual suffering; he existed in the most egregious and foul of conditions. He remained starved, locked away, and isolated until his killing. This child never looked forward to his first day of school, blew out candles on a birthday cake, or experienced the unconditional love of family,” the district attorney said, according to Fox 43 News.
“The utter despair that was Max Schollenberger’s life begs for justice for his death,” he said.
Both suspects are reportedly being held without bond.
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