Good Samaritan shares story about helping tortured Madison teen

CREATED Feb 15, 2012

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MADISON- Disturbing new information about how a teenage girl was tortured in her own home.

She was allegedly starved and beaten by her father and stepmother.

Police aren't saying much, only saying they're continuing this investigation.  Meanwhile, the people directly involved in helping the teenage victim are speaking out.

Mike Vega is a man battling emotions.  Last week, the father of three found a girl he believed to be about eight-years-old -- walking barefoot on the side of the road.  Police say the girl is 15 and barely escaped her home with her life.

"She's all I've thought about for the past nine days," said Vega.  "I said, are you OK?  And she said, 'no, I'm not' and reached toward the car."

Wiping the blood from the girl's face, Vega calmed the girl down and called 9-1-1. 
"She said that her stepmother has thrown her down the stairs and was coming after her," said Vega.

Days later, Chad Chritton and Melinda Drabek-Chritton were arrested.  Authorities believe the pair kept the girl in their basement for years.

Neighbors had their suspicions, one even warned their children to play it safe.

Police searched the family's home, but won't say exactly what they found.  And more than a week after the girl made her escape, her parents have yet to be charged.

Staffers with the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center interviewed the girl, who is recovering at a hospital.  Forensic interviewer Jennifer Ginsburg said these cases are more common than you'd think.  "For every case that's reported in the media, there are many, many more we're not hearing about."

Back at home, Mike Vega hopes this case will receive the justice the teenage girl deserves.

"She was a person who was abused.  She's a child.  And the people that did that should be not be able to post bond and go free."

Police had visited the girl's home before.  TODAY'S TMJ4 asked about those visits Wednesday, and was told the girl looked healthy at the time and the family wouldn't cooperate.

A court commissioner gave prosecutors until Thursday to press charges against the girl's parents.