Fond du Lac man convicted of child abuse now charged with homicide in victim’s death

Doctors say her bouts with pneumonia were the result of her injuries from abuse
Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 4:31 PM CDT
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FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) -A homicide charge have been filed against a Fond du Lac man already serving a prison sentence for abusing his victim. Twenty-nine year old Thomas Abitz, who was convicted for a 2011 incident that severely injured his then 2-year-old victim, is now charged with her 2017 death.

It’s been three years since 8-year-old Mckena Marie Nett died of pneumonia. But, according to the Fond du Lac County district attorney in his statement to the court on Monday during Thomas Abitz’s initial appearance, experts say the pneumonia was caused by an injury she suffered six years earlier at the hands of Abitz.

Toney told the judge, “The abusive head trauma resulted in significant impairment for the victim moving forward with multiple bouts of pneumonia over the course of years, and then in 2017 the victim passed away from pneumonia which was linked to the abusive head trauma by the medical examiner, Dr. Kelley; Dr. Coller, the treating pediatrician; as well as Dr. Knox, who was the original child abuse expert physician.”

The original incident was back in March of 2011 in the Security Drive apartment where the toddler lived with her mother. At the time, Abitz, who was the mother’s boyfriend, admitted to playing with child and unintentionally hitting her head against a wall.

Doctors, however, disagreed with his claim and said the injuries were abusive head trauma. Abitz was convicted of child abuse and sent to prison, where he’s still serving his sentence.

Three years ago, after the victim died, an extensive investigation into her medical records was completed, leading to the decision by the district attorney to file the homicide charge.

Toney added, "We focus on various reports from our doctors and those are reflected in our criminal complaint and that's what resulted in the allegations and the filing here."

Abitz will be back in court for his preliminary hearing scheduled for October 30.

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