A Wisconsin couple and their teenage son have been arrested in connection with the killing of a 7-year-old boy who was severely beaten and buried in snow for not memorizing Bible verses, according to the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Office.
Timothy and Tina Hauschultz and their 15-year-old boy were charged Friday in connection with the April 2018 death of Ethan Hauschultz, who died from hypothermia and blunt force trauma to the head, chest and abdomen, police said.
The couple had custody of Ethan, his twin brother and a sister, according to a criminal complaint. Timothy, 48, is charged with being a party to murder and contributing to the delinquency of a child. Tina, 35, is charged with failing to prevent bodily harm and intentionally contributing to the delinquency of a child. The teen is charged with first-degree reckless homicide.
How, or if, the couple is related to the children is not explained in the court document.
Timothy ordered Ethan to carry a 44-pound log for hours at a time around the family's snow-covered back yard as punishment for not memorizing Bible verses, the complaint states. He ordered his teen son to supervise the discipline, authorities said.
Ethan, who weighed 60 pounds, was forced to carry a stump "weighing two-thirds his body weight," according to the document. The teen told detectives he hit Ethan 100 times, sometimes with a belt or a stick, rolled the log across Ethan's chest, stood on his body and head while Ethan was face-down in a puddle, and packed the child under approximately 80 pounds of snow for 20 to 30 minutes, the complaint states.
The child had neither boots nor a coat.
The teen described using a shovel to pile snow on top of Ethan and using the back of the blade to pack it tight around the boy so he "was in his own little of coffin of snow," the document said.
The couple was not home while the alleged attack occurred.
The punishment called "carrying wood" was commonly used by Timothy, authorities said. His teenage son often supervised such disciplinary regimens in which the younger children were ordered to carry logs of specific weight for specific distances, the document said.
The children were not allowed to go inside or take breaks longer than five seconds, authorities said.
After Ethan's death, his twin and his sister were removed from the home by children's services workers.
The three suspects were scheduled to appear in court on Monday.