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Racine mother charged with neglecting 5 children must obtain attorney for case to proceed

Posted at 4:12 PM, Aug 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-16 17:12:15-04

RACINE, Wis. — A mother in Racine, accused of neglecting her five children, must obtain an attorney before her case can proceed through the court system.

34-year-old Dashja Turner walked into a hearing wearing handcuffs in Racine County on Wednesday morning without a lawyer.

The court commissioner stated that the public defender's office did not have an attorney for Turner so they could not move forward. The court set a hearing for Sept. 27 to give Turner more time to obtain counsel.

In late July 2023, Racine Police found Turner's five children malnourished in the unfinished basement of a home near 11th Street and Washington Avenue. The windows were covered with purple paint.

Investigators said the children are between the ages of 1 and 14. They described them as frail and lethargic. It appeared they had not bathed for some time.

Staff at Children's Wisconsin reported the 14-year-old child weighed less than 55 pounds. Some of the children showed signs of physical abuse.

When TMJ4 News knocked on the door, a man who answered said he was watching the house and was not aware of the situation.

Investigators say numerous welfare checks for the children started in September 2021 in Kenosha, Mount Pleasant, and Racine.

Turner claimed the children were being home-schooled.

A neighbor who did not want to show his face said he did not know any kids were staying at the home.

"It was just an awful sight to see them take the kids like that," the neighbor said. "They say you never know what's going on next door."

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