The domestic abuse suffered by three teenage siblings in the hands of their adoptive mother until one died has been revealed in graphic photos of one of the survivors.
The siblings were starved by their adoptive mother Nicole Finn, 43, until one of the daughters, Natalie, 16, died from a heart attack on the bathroom floor. Nicole locked Natalie and her siblings in a single, filthy bedroom and refused to feed them despite their desperate pleas.
One photo shown in court during Nicole’s trial reveals a note written by one of the children and put in a window to alert passers-by.
It read: “Can’t open window, mom nailed it shut!”
Images presented in court show an emaciated child whose spine is protruding through their skin. Another shows a child with bloody wounds on their legs and bed sores on their arms after being rescued alive.
Natalie was so weak she could not even stand and weighed just 81lbs – more than 40lbs less than the average weight for a girl her age.
Nicole rescued pets but starved three of the four siblings she adopted. She removed the children from public schools and locked them away. When she found out they had been sneaking out to beg for food, she and her ex-husband boarded up the bedroom so they couldn’t leave the house.
Natalie’s brother Jaden told a court how days before her death, when she was unable to stand, their adoptive mum said: “Since you’re not going to get up, I’m not going to feed you.”
Natalie died as a result of a cardiac arrest brought on by starvation in October 2016. After her death, Nicole Finn waited 15 minutes before dialing 911 and when police and paramedics arrived at the house of horrors in the US state of Iowa, they found the girl dead on the bathroom floor covered in bed sores and wearing a soiled, adult nappy. A post-mortem exam found she had no fat remaining in her body.
During the trial, Jaden told his mother’s murder trial how he had been allowed to leave the horrific bedroom no more than a few times during the summer Natalie died in 2016. He said they were so hungry and thirsty that the had to drink water from the toilet.
Police said the home reeked of human and animal waste and the bedroom floor was covered in urine with no furniture. Many animals roamed freely, including well over a dozen kittens and cats. There were also numerous kennels with dogs scattered inside the residence.
The monster mum was given three consecutive life sentences without parole in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday.
When Nicole was handed three life sentences, Judge Karen Romano said: “The court cannot imagine what kind of mental trauma these children have suffered.”
Finn’s ex-husband Joe Finn will stand trial on child neglect charges separately.