Appleton mother charged in connection with daughter's death

Nicole Gussert in court for an initial appearance on June 11, 2018. (WLUK Pafoua Yang)

APPLETON, Wis. (WLUK) -- An Appleton mother has been formally charged in connection with the death of her 13-year-old daughter.

Nicole Gussert appeared in Outagamie County court Monday afternoon. Police say her daughter died in May of last year.

Emotional and in tears, Greg Gussert listened to details that may have led to his daughter's death.

"Some of the worst news I've ever heard. It's unbelievable what she had to go through," Greg told FOX 11.

Greg's ex-wife, Nicole Gussert, is charged with one count of child neglect causing the death of 13-year-old Brianna Gussert. Nicole also faces three counts of possession with intent to deliver amphetamine.

"Her daughter had a significant health issue, she was unable to walk, talk, to care for herself at all and functioned much like an infant," Outagamie County District Attorney Melinda Tempelis said during court.

According to the criminal complaint, Brianna had severe heath issues that required constant care. The document says Nicole did not give her proper care.

"She does not recall the last time she fed her. She does not recall the last time she changed her diaper. She had not been bathed in over a week. She had not been cared for or checked on," said Tempelis.

Tempelis said Nicole was unsure when she last saw Brianna during Memorial Day weekend. When law enforcement officers came to Nicole's home to do a welfare check, they said they were immediately concerned with the poor living conditions.

"It is completely unfit for habitation for anyone and over the course of that weekend," Tempelis said.

The criminal complaints says Brianna had infections caused by unsanitary conditions and died primarily of sepsis. According to the document, the skin in Brianna's diaper area was also reaching a stage of decomposition. Officials say Brianna's diaper had not been changed in some time.

"Doctor Kelly indicated that this is not something that would have happened in a 12 hour period, but would have happened in the course of many many," Tempelis said.

"Attorney Tempelis is correct, but the criminal behavior has not been proven by the state, it's simply allegations," argued State Public Defender Robert Welygan.

Greg said it's been over a year since his daughter's death and he's happy to see the case moving forward.

"We're all heartbroken and its just like a wound that's being reopen."

A cash bond of $300,000 is set for Gussert. She's due back in court a week from Tuesday.

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