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Wisconsin Man Convicted Of Child Abuse Charged With Murder After Kid Dies 6 Years Later

Thomas Abitz claimed that the hand-shaped marks on 2-year-old McKena Nett's back came from him slapping her to keep her from choking.

By Daniel Egitto

A Wisconsin man who was convicted of abusing a 2-year-old has been charged with murder six years after the incident.

The child died of pneumonia in 2017, her symptoms allegedly a direct result of the abuse.

The morning of March 26, 2011, emergency personnel rushed to the home that Thomas Abitz, then 19, and 2-year-old McKena Nett were staying in. Nett, who had been completely uninjured when playing with her grandmother the night before, was unconscious on the floor and suffering from numerous injuries, according to a criminal complaint acquired by Oxygen.com.

The toddler had a fractured skill, bleeding in her brain and both her eyes, and several bruises in the shape of an adult-sized hand, according to court documents.

Abitz claimed these injuries came from a series of accidents.

Thomas Abitz Pd

On one occasion, he told police that he was playing “airplane” with the girl and accidentally hit her against the wall, according to the complaint. Shortly after that, he claimed she unexpectedly fainted, hitting her head once again, and also tripped while playing with their cat. As for the hand-shaped marks on her back, he said that she had choked, forcing him to slap her on the back.

Abitz was arrested and found guilty of recklessly causing great harm to a child and felony bail jumping, the Fond du Lac Reporter, a local newspaper, reports. He received the maximum possible sentence of 13 years.

McKena suffered severe and lasting disabilities from the abuse. At 4 years old, she was unable to talk, required a feeding tube and was suspected of being blind. She was also mostly paralyzed, unable to move her legs or her left arm, according to a charges report acquired by Oxygen.com.

In 2017, McKena began suffering from severe bouts of pneumonia. She came down with a total of three cases, each worse than the last — and on June 23, 2017, the illness claimed her life.

Multiple medical experts told detectives that the girl’s pneumonia was a direct result of Abitz’s abuse, according to the charges report. And now, district attorney Eric Toney has charged Abitz with murder, WBAY-TV, a local station, reports.

Abitz, who is still in prison, will face up to another 60 years if found guilty, according to a criminal complaint acquired by Oxygen.com.

His attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.