Wisconsin House of Horrors

June 27, 2007 at 10:09 am by  

UPDATE 11/11/08 – Candace Clark, now 24, pleaded no contest to being a party to second-degree reckless homicide on Monday.  She also pled guilty to multiple charges including child abuse related to the murder of Tammie Garlin and the torture of Garlin’s eleven year old son. Clark will serve about 47 years in prison and then will face up to 45 years of continued supervision.

Pictured – Michael Sisk, Candace Clark, Michaela Clerc, Felicia Garlin
House of Horrors

(June 27, 2007) – No one in the Portage, Wisconsin neighborhood could have possibly imagined the horrible events that had transpired in one of the rental properties right next door to them. The family living inside were a group of identity thieves who traveled across the US. The group consisted of Candace Clark, 23, Tammie Garlin, 36, Tammie’s 11-year-old son, her daughter Felicia Garlin, 15, and Michaela Clerc, 20. The group was allegedly led by Michael Sisk, 25.

The group, and the terrible events that were going on the house they lived in, were found out by investigators when acting on a tip in regards to Clark having kidnapped her 2-year-old daughter from a foster home in Florida.

This is what investigators found:

  • The kidnapped child, Courtney Clark. She was safe and being returned to Florida.
  • Tammie Garlin buried in the back yard of the house. She died of “manual strangulation; autopsy also identified multiple injuries on the woman consistent with physical abuse
  • Tammie’s 11-year-old son locked in a closet and suffering from serial physical abuse and malnutrition, severe burns on his face, hands and feet. The boy also had head wounds, burned fingers and toes. He is currently in guarded condition.
  • Two Unidentified infants aged 1 and 3-months; with the youngest showing evidence of malnutrition

The level of abuse the 11-year-old suffered, allegedly from everyone in the house, ranged from having boiling water sprayed on him to having his testicles pulled with pliers. His feet were so badly burned, when investigators found him he could not walk.

The boy told authorities he was repeatedly burned with hot water by the four, his sister laughed as she burned him. The boy said the four would tie his hands behind his back and his legs together and then put him in the bathtub where they would run scalding hot water over him. His sister, Clark and Sisk also strangled him multiple times, and punched and kicked him in the stomach and face and was whipped with a belt and extension cords. The boy also stated that his mother participated in abusing him, but then she herself became a victim of the same abuse, sometimes being scalded with him in the bathtub.

All housemates are currently blaming Sisk for everything, even thought they all participated in some level to the abuse of the child and were all participants in the murder of Tammie and her burial in the backyard, including her own daughter. According to the criminal complaint, Sisk killed Tammy Garlin, placed her in the trunk of the car, then went to Wal-Mart for tools. Felicia Garlin admitted that Sisk dug the hole in the backyard. After this she helped Mike place her mother in the hole while Candice acted as a look out.

They state they feared for their lives if they did not do what Sisk instructed, but investigators allege these people had multiple occasions to alert authorities of the activities going on in the house and that is why they have all been charged.
All of the suspects, including Felicia Garlin have been indicted on a total of 43 charges. Felicia will has been charged as an adult.

You can get more details from the following links:

Read the actual criminal complaint (GRAPHIC)

Ongoing discussion here

UPDATE 9/12/08 – This week, Michaela Clerc was sentenced to 37 years in prison without parole followed by 25 years of supervised probation for her role in the torture of the eleven year old victim in this case. Clerc took a plea bargain that kept her from being tried in the death of the boy’s mother, Tammie Garlin.

In court, the judge read a letter written by the boy.  The child described being punched and beaten with the cord by Michaela Clerc, tied up numerous times and put in scalding hot bath water.  Experts on child abuse who testified in the hearing said that the abuse the boy suffered was some of the worst they’d seen.  The judge went one further and said, “This was not abuse.  This was torture.”

Michaela Clerc spoke in court briefly.  She apologized for the pain she had caused to the child, and said, “I do understand that I need to go to prison.”    Yeah, that’s the understatement of the week.

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