HARDIN COUNTY - The Hardin County grand jury has indicted a woman charged with injuring her young niece by whipping, choking and shoving her, and making the girl kneel on hard rice for 15 minutes.
The grand jury indicted Wadren Alice Hilger, 31, of Silsbee, on three charges, including Injury to a Child and Assault.
One of the charges is a 1st Degree Felony, punishable by up to life in prison, and two are 3rd Degree Felonies, punishable by 2-10 years in prison.
Investigators say Hilger shoved the child, causing the toddler's head to strike the floor.
Three warrants have been issued for her arrest. Each carries a $250,000 bond.
Earlier this year Silsbee Police Chief Dennis Allen said the little girl had dozens of bruises on her body and he described the forced kneeling on hard rice as "torture."
District Attorney David Sheffield says the 3-year-old girl is in a semi-comotose state.
A Silsbee woman accused of abusing a 3-year-old girl to the point of seizures has been indicted on three felony counts by a Hardin County Grand Jury.
Wadren Hilger, 31, of Silsbee was indicted on two third-degree felony charges of injury to a child by striking with a belt and family violence-assault by choking. She was also indicted on the first-degree felony charge of serious bodily injury to a child by shoving, causing the childís head to strike the floor.
Warrants for Hilgerís arrest were expected to be issued this week. Bond had been set at $250,000 on each charge.
In June 2010, St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont alerted Silsbee law enforcement officials of a possible child abuse situation when a 3-year-old girl was brought into the emergency room suffering from seizures.
According to Silsbee Police Chief Dennis Allen reported at the time that the toddler had in excess of 60 bruises on her body.
ďThe bruises had been caused from whipping, grabbing, etc. Bruises on her chin were explained by the suspect as having grabbed the child to make her look at her and other bruises from spanking the child with a belt. There are a lot of bruises that are not consistent with just a spanking with a belt. Obviously it has crossed a line.
ďThere was even what I refer to as torture. She admitted that she put rice on a hard surface floor and made the child kneel on the rice for 5-10 minutes. The auntís reasoning was that she was disciplining the child. As far as Iím concerned it was torture.Ē
Hilger is the aunt of the injured child. The child has been living in the home with Hilger, her husband and two other children, ages nine and six since June, 2009. One of the children belongs to the husband and the other belongs to the suspect. At the time of the initial arrest, CPS removed the other two children from the home and placed them in foster homes.
The victimís mother is the Hilgerís sister. She was in prison at the time of the incident at the end of her initial sentence but was released early to be allowed to go to Texas Childrenís Hospital to be with her daughter.
The child has since been moved from Houston to Dallas in an effort to aid her recovery. According to Hardin County District Attorney David Sheffield, the child is still in a semi-comatose state.