Four Charged with Murder in Portage
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PORTAGE (AP) -- A 15-year-old girl and three adults were charged Wednesday with murdering the girl's mother, burying her body and torturing the girl's little brother by repeatedly scalding him with hot water.
The four were expected to make their initial court appearances on the charges Wednesday afternoon.
Authorities took them into custody after an investigation into a missing 2-year-old Florida girl led them to a rental property in Portage, about 40 miles north of Madison.
There, they made several shocking discoveries: a severely burned and blood-streaked 11-year-old boy in a closet; the body of his 36-year-old mother, Tammie Garlin, buried in the backyard; and the 2-year-old who had been kidnapped from a Florida foster home.
Charged with first-degree intentional homicide are Candace Clark, 23; Michael Sisk, 25; Michaela Clerc, 20; and 15-year-old Felicia Mae Garlin.
An autopsy concluded that Tammie Garlin likely died of strangulation. The complaint, citing statements from some of the defendants, says Tammie Garlin died around June 4 after they repeatedly kicked her and dropped her on her head when they were moving her to the bathroom.
The four then put her body in the trunk of a car and buried her the next day in the backyard, the complaint said.
The complaint said Clark and Sisk were boyfriend and girlfriend and Clerc and Tammie Garlin were lovers for five years. Clerc was angry because she thought Tammie Garlin had cheated on her, the complaint said.
The group -- including Clark's three young children and Garlin's son and daughter -- had lived in several states over the past year and recently moved to Wisconsin to "see snow," the complaint said.
The four also face charges for hiding Tammie Garlin's body and the abuse of the 11-year-old boy. The boy told authorities he was repeatedly burned with hot water by the four, including by sister Felicia, who laughed as she burned him, the complaint said.
The boy said the four would tie his hands behind his back and his legs together and then put him in the bathtub where they would run scalding hot water over him, the complaint said. During such occasions, they would threaten to drown him.
His sister, Clark and Sisk also strangled him multiple times, and punched and kicked him in the stomach and face, the boy told authorities.
The boy also said he was whipped almost daily with a belt and extension cords, and typically forced to get naked and locked in a closet in his sister's bedroom, where he slept.
Law enforcement officials have said it was the worst case of child abuse they've seen.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
(Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)