Brookfield parents accused of locking their child with autism in basement set to be sentenced

WAUKESHA COUNTY — Brookfield parents convicted on three counts of causing mental harm to a child are set to be sentenced in a Waukesha County courtroom on Thursday afternoon, March 1.

Patrick Keller, 50, and Alicyn Keller, 44, were accused of locking their 13-year-old child who has autism in an unfinished basement with no toilet or sink. They were found guilty on Jan. 26.

Patrick and Alicyn Keller

Police records show the Waukesha County Department of Health and Human Services knew the 13-year-old child with autism was being forced to live in a cold basement at least a year before she was removed from her home.

According to New Berlin police reports from 2012-2014, WCDHHS was notified at least 10 times about concerns police, neighbors and teachers had about how the child was being treated at home.

In April 2016, the child’s mother and stepfather were charged with child neglect for allegedly locking the teen in an unfinished basement with no toilet or sink, forcing her to wear diapers and refusing to allow her to sit on furniture. Her mother, Alicyn Keller, told social workers she locked her daughter in the basement every day after school from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and called her “stink.”

Brookfield police first searched the home in March, after an anonymous caller reported the child was being “treated like an animal.”

But this was not the first time police had been called. In fact, according to police records, the family had been investigated for child abuse six times between 2012 and 2014 at other homes in New Berlin. Police were also called for lost child reports and domestic violence.

If you need help for yourself or your children with autism, the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin offers support groups and programs for families in need. Go here for more information and resources.

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