Indianapolis, IN–On Christmas Eve, 11-year-old Heather Wessel was standing near a propane heater being used to heat the home…she got too close and the bottoms of her silk pajamas caught on fire. She suffered second- and third-degree burns to her legs and backside. Her parents neglected to seek immediate medical attention. For two weeks, Heather suffered in excruciating pain, and they did nothing about it.
The Wessel’s didn’t seek medical attention because they ‘didn’t want to get in trouble for the situation arising from her getting burned.’ Meaning, they had to use a propane heater in the home due to the fact that their gas heat was shut off because the bills weren’t paid. So, for nearly two weeks, they listened to their child cry in pain. For nearly two weeks, Sharon slathered moisturizing cream and over-the-counter burn ointments on the child’s burns, in hopes that they would just disappear. No such luck.
A neighbor heard Heather’s screams of pain and called 911 on Tuesday. When Officer Nicole Bockting arrived at the home, she found the child in agony, lying face down on the sofa. She was covered up with an old, dirty white T-shirt that had stuck to the burns. Blood and body fluids were visible. When medics attempted to move the child, she cried hysterically. She was crying, saying, ‘I don’t want my mommy and daddy to go to jail.’ Medics were able to calm her enough to administer pain meds and carry her out of the home. Heather was taken to Riley Hospital for Children where she underwent surgery on Wednesday. Her condition is considered critical and has been further complicated by the onset of infection. Doctors told police it’s possible she could lose both legs.
Frederick Wessel, 48, and Sharon Wessel, 35, were both arrested Wednesday and preliminarily charged with felony child neglect resulting in bodily injury. They are being held without bond in Marion County Jail. Heather’s 14-year-old brother was removed from the home and placed in protective custody.
On another note, old Freddy is also a child molestor. In 1988, he was sentenced to eight years in prison for child molestation. He served five years and was released on probation.