MILWAUKEE (WDJT) — A Milwaukee mother and another man are facing felony charges for allegedly imprisoning two children in their home for years.

In Milwaukee County intake court Monday, July 17, the assistant district attorney described this situation like something out of a horror movie. Neighbors told investigators they saw two children running through the streets covered in feces and blood.

A child witness said the children — two boys ages 7 and 9 — “were acting like cavemen, like they had never seen the sun before.”

Katie Koch, 34, is the mother of the children.

Joel Manke, 38, is schedule to go through intake court in connection to the case; he’s facing four felony counts.

The state said it has a very strong case.

Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Mallory Davis said, the children were essentially confined to their room for much of their lives. The windows were boarded up and doors were locked from the outside. Responding officers described it as, “a terrible hoarding situation” in which they could not see the floor.

Koch told officers the children had broken a window and ran away.

The state said the couple moved into the Milwaukee home about three years ago; some of the neighbors interviewed said they didn’t even know children lived in the home during that time.

Conditions were so poor that after the children were taken into protective custody, their heads had to be shaved because their hair was so matted with feces.

“These children have been horribly damaged from their mother’s actions. They are completely uneducated. They are not potty trained, even at their ages. They are, essentially at this point, unable to function in society,” said Davis.

In court today, the court commissioner set a $30,000 cash bail for Koch; a public defender said Koch has no money to post bail

Koch’s preliminary hearing is set for July 26. If convicted on all counts, she faces fines of $140,000 and 60 years in prison.

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