Custodial Father Charged in Daughter's Death, sadistic physical abuse


Testimony indicated that after Lauren was removed from her mother's home in August 2009, the girl became dangerously emaciated -- and was subjected to sadistic forms of physical abuse --in the seven months she would spend in the custody of her father, Ryan, and her stepmother, Brittany.

Amplify’d from www.thestarpress.com

MUNCIE -- With her father and stepmother already facing long prison terms, authorities aren't letting up in their investigation of the events that led to the March 2010 death of Lauren McConniel.

On Tuesday, a third adult who lived in the South Ebright Street house where 5-year-old Lauren spent her final months was arrested on charges stemming from her mistreatment and death.

Robert E. Lee, 44 -- the stepfather of Brittany McConniel, Lauren's stepmother -- is charged with aiding, inducing or causing neglect of a dependent, a Class A felony carrying a standard 30-year prison term; three counts of battery, a Class D felony with a standard 18-month sentence, and failure to immediately report child abuse, a misdemeanor.

Lee, listed on court records at addresses in both Muncie and Farmland, was arrested late Tuesday afternoon, and was being held without bond in the Delaware County jail.

Details of the allegations against Lee were not available Tuesday night, although more information was expected today after related court documents are unsealed.

Lee, his wife and their adult daughter also lived with the McConniels.

Lauren died in Riley Hospital for Children on March 9, 2010, apparently after her as-yet-unexplained ingestion of a lethal amount of table salt, which caused seizures and brain injuries her malnourished body could not recover from.

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