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Woman convicted in case where teen girl was found weighing only 40 pounds

MADISON COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) – A woman has been convicted in the case of abuse of a teenage girl.

Investigators charged Crystal Sells after they learned Sells’ father, Steve Sells locked his disabled granddaughter in a room for more than a year.

According to court documents, Crystal Sells was an “active participant” in the abuse of the then 15-year-old girl. One witness told police Crystal Sells hit the teen with a plastic chair, documents show.

Investigators said Sells’ niece, a young disabled girl was locked in a room, forced to urinate in a bucket and defecate on herself while her grandfather Steve and Joetta Sells collected government assistance checks meant for her care.

That teen was found by police in the home weighing less than 40 pounds and clinging to life in December 2014.

In September of 2015, Joetta Sells pleaded guilty to 10 felony charges stemming from her “years-long neglect and abuse” of her husband’s teenaged granddaughter according to the documents.

Joetta Sells was later sentenced to 24 years, filed an appeal, which an appellate judge denied. The judge stated Joetta Sells’ freely entering of her guilty plea revoked her right of an appeal.

Steve Sells also received 24 years for his role in abuse of the teenage girl.

According to the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office, Crystal Sells was found guilty on all charges presented to the jury.

Crystal Sells’ sentencing is scheduled for March 27 at 10 a.m.

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