MANITOWOC COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - On Friday, Manitowoc County deputies arrested a teenage boy and two adults for the death of a 7-year-old boy who was severely beaten then buried in the snow last April.
Sheriff's investigators say for an hour or an hour-and-a-half, young Ethan Hauschaultz was hit, kicked, poked, repeatedly shoved to the ground, and a heavy log was rolled across his chest by a 14-year-old boy. The older boy "stood on (Ethan's) body and head while Ethan was face-down in a puddle. He ultimately buried Ethan completely in snow."
Ethan's court-appointed guardians took the boy to a hospital on April 20, where he died after life-saving efforts by medical staff.
According to the sheriff's office, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office determined Ethan died from hypothermia and blunt force injuries to his head, chest, and abdomen.
The sheriff's office says Timothy Hauschultz ordered Ethan to carry the wooden log, which weighed about two-thirds of his body weight, as a punishment. The 14-year-old was supervising Ethan.
Formal charges were filed Friday against Timothy Hauschultz and Tina McKeever-Hauschultz, who are Ethan's relatives and were his court-appointed guardians. The teenager, who has since turned 15, was placed in the Sheboygan County juvenile detention center.
Deputies say the 15-year-old is being charged with first-degree reckless homicide, physical abuse of a child intentionally causing bodily harm, and substantial battery.
Timothy Hauschultz is charged with party to the crimes of felony murder, intent to contribute to the delinquency of a child resulting in death, physical abuse of a child intentionally causing bodily harm, and misdemeanor battery.
McKeever-Hauschultz was charged with being party to the crimes of contributing to the delinquency of a child resulting in death and failing to act to prevent bodily harm to a child.
The Hauschultzes are due in Manitowoc County court for a bail hearing Monday morning.
According to the criminal complaints obtained by Action 2 News, Ethan and his siblings were put in the Hauschultzes' care in 2017. The siblings told investigators Timothy Hauschultz frequently punishes them by making them walk laps around the yard carrying heavy logs, which he picks out. The children are allowed to put down the log and take a 5-second rest after each lap. The siblings said that week they were required to carry wood every day for two hours a day for not knowing their Bible verses.
The teenage boy told investigators he was frustrated because the younger boys were dropping the wood every 5 minutes. When Ethan became unresponsive, he thought the boy was just resisting, so he buried him under what he estimated was 80 pounds of packed snow and ice. Deputies say Ethan weighed 60 pounds.
Investigators described the teenage boy who was arrested as emotional during an interview when he said his home had become "boring" and "prison-like" after Ethan and his brother came to live with them, and he was always angry after they took all the fun out of his life.