Warning: This story contains content which may distress some readers
A couple in the US has been charged with murder after a 12-year-old boy’s starved corpse was discovered at home.
Maxwell Schollenberger, the son of Scott Schollenberger Jr, 41, was found dead and naked in his bed, which was covered in faeces.
His room also had no lights, and the windows were sealed shut with duct tape.
Prosecutors allege Scott and his fiancée, 35-year-old Kimberly Maurer, kept the boy locked away in his room for years.
They also abused Maxwell by starving him and punishing him - and he weighed just 22 kilograms when he died.
An autopsy revealed Maxwell also suffered blunt force trauma to his head.
“This tiny 12-year-old boy never knew the unconditional love from a family,” said Lebanon Country District Attorney Pier Hess Graf in a press conference.
“Max Schollenberger existed. I will not call this living. He existed in a state of perpetual suffering.
“By the time of his death, he was in that room 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
House of horrors
Investigators said the victim’s room was covered with so much old human waste that it had begun to turn mouldy.
The smell was also present throughout the second floor of the home - and there was no other furniture in Maxwell’s room aside from the soiled bed.
Every single piece of clothing they found was covered in waste - and investigators said that “claw marks appeared in the child victim’s sheets”.
Shockingly, the couple had other children living in the same home.
But investigators said they appeared to be “healthy, well-adjusted and cared for”.
Maxwell’s siblings were provided medical care and attended school - but he did not have the same luxury.
The siblings also told investigators they had hardly seen Max prior to his death.
The remaining children are now in the care of child welfare officials.
Schollenberger and Maurer have been charged with homicide and child endangerment, and are being held in a county prison without bail.