Woman charged with cruelty, neglect in connection with death of 9-year-old girl

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Warwick Police have charged Michelle Rothgeb, 55, of 405 Oakland Beach Ave., with cruelty to or neglect of a child in connection with the Jan. 3 death of a 9-year-old girl of the same address.

Rothgeb was the guardian for the girl, who was found in the house when Warwick Police and Fire responded to a medical call Jan. 3.

The girl was one of eight children ranging in age from 2½ to 15 years old living in the house. Two of the children were grandchildren and the others were adopted, according to Major Mark Ullucci.

Ullucci said yesterday police inspected the property and had sufficient evidence to obtain a warrant for Rothgeb’s arrest. He indicated more charges might be forthcoming.

Ullucci called the interior of the house “deplorable, a complete mess…no one should be living in these conditions, especially children.” He said Rothgeb was the only adult living in the house and that, immediately following the call on Jan. 3, all the children were removed from the house and referred to DCYF.

Acting Police Chief Brad Connor said last week that the person who made the initial call thought the child, who was described as having a prior medical condition, was believed to have been undergoing a seizure. The girl was transported to Kent Hospital and was declared deceased shortly after arrival.

In a release issued Monday, police said they successfully executed an arrest warrant for Rothgeb’s arrest on Jan. 13. She was taken into custody at her residence, located at 405 Oakland Beach Ave., at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. She was held at the Warwick Police Department overnight and appeared Monday in Third District Court, where the judge set bail at $25,000 and issued a no-contact order with any of the children. As she did not post bail, she was remanded to the ACI.

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