GEORGETOWN, Ohio — A Brown County woman accused in a case of severe child abuse will remain in jail after a judge denied a motion to reduce her bond on Wednesday.
Margaret Breeze, 47, of Georgetown, is accused of starving and abusing an 11-year-old girl in her custody so severely that her life was in danger, according to investigators. Breeze's husband, 61-year-old Charles Breeze, also faces charges.
Prosecutors said Breeze shouldn't be released from jail because she was attempting to contact witnesses in her case, but her defense attorney argued that the $250,000 bond is a hindrance.
"I certainly believe it would be much easier for Ms. Breeze to assist in her defense had she had the ability to be released from jail," said Breeze's defense attorney Nick Ring.
Investigators said the girl weighed 47 pounds and was experiencing liver failure when authorities removed her from the home in September. She could have died if she had not been discovered by a Child Protective Services worker.
Since the girl was rescued, authorities have placed her in a loving home, where she has gained about 15 pounds, according to Brown County Prosecutor Zachary Corbin.
"She's doing well ... she's in a safe place, she's happy and looking forward to Christmas, and that's a good thing," Corbin said.
Court documents say Breeze and her husband kept the girl locked in her bedroom in a trailer and fed her rice once a day.
A video found in the Breezes' home shows Margaret Breeze telling the 11-year-old she would like to “break her jaw so she didn't have to listen to her,” court documents say. Another video shows the girl being beaten and threatened.
The Breezes monitored the girl through a surveillance camera and made her wear diapers because the trailer did not have bathrooms, according to Corbin.
A teacher's tip led authorities to the girl, Corbin said. The girl was home schooled and was taking a test online when she complained to the teacher that she was hungry.
The child was admitted to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and diagnosed with Kwashiorkor, a severe protein deficiency normally seen in sub-Saharan Africa. The girl was below .01 percentile for both height and weight for her age group.
The Breezes have been charged with endangering children, felonious assault and kidnapping.
Margaret Breeze has a pretrial hearing at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 28.
Charles Breeze is due in court on Dec. 20.