Complaint: Shawano County boy found on Highway 45 escaped abusive home

Photo: Shawano County Jail

SHAWANO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Shawano County man has been charged in a child abuse case in which he is accused of tying up an 8-year-old boy in a basement.

Nathan Pogrant, 36, is charged with Physical Abuse of a Child; False Imprisonment; Cause Mental Harm to a Child; Possession of THC; and Felony Bail Jumping.

On Oct. 5, Shawano County deputies received a report that an 8-year-old boy had been walking on Highway 45. The boy was hungry. He had on large shoes that did not fit him. Deputies say the boy was dirty and "probably had not showered in several days."

At first, the boy said he had been dropped off in the area. He later to investigators that he ran away from home. He told a deputy that he had been forced to sit in a chair in the basement for the past two nights. The boy said "Nathan [Pogrant] gets mad at him and puts him in a chair in the basement." The boy was fed only a peanut butter sandwich the previous day.

The boy said Nathan puts him in a hooded sweatshirt--described as a straight jacket-- and ties a cord around his body. He said Nathan puts locks on his legs. The boy had what appeared to be a rope mark on his stomach. He also had a large bruise on the left shoulder.

The boy said Nathan also put him in a closet for punishment.

While in the basement, the boy was forced to sit in the dark. He said Nathan would turn music up loud to drown out the sound of his crying.

The deputy said the boy appeared to be "rather skinny and his rib bones could be seen."

The deputy and Department of Human Services went to the boy's home in Eland to speak with Nathan Pogrant. Nathan told police he makes the boy sit in a chair in the basement because he is "violent toward other family members." Investigators saw the chair. They said it had restraints on it--including a zip tie and a metal buckle.

The boy spoke with interviewers at a local child advocacy center. They noticed a bruise under his right eye "which was tender to the touch." The boy had additional bruises on his body. The boy explained that he also gets spanked with a paddle.

THE ESCAPE

On Oct. 5, the boy decided he had enough of being tied up in the basement. He said he was sick of mice and having to wet himself and sit there. He was able to get the hoodie loose and untie the cord around his stomach. He got out of the bike locks on his legs. The boy put on his snow pants, a coat and some shoes. While Nathan and his mom were sleeping, he took off. He ended up on Highway 45. Some Good Samaritans stopped and gave him some food. They called the Sheriff's Office.

The boy said he initially lied about being dropped off there because he was afraid to go home.

SEARCH WARRANT

On Oct. 10, officers executed a search warrant at the Pogrant home in Eland. The boy's mother provided authorities with the "straight jacket" and confirmed that the boy had been telling the truth about being tied up in the chair. She said the locks on her son's legs were bike locks.

Officers could not find the chair. The mother said Nathan had thrown it away in a dumpster.

Officers asked the mother why she didn't stop the abuse. "I don't know," she replied.

In the basement the family had a "rigged up" hot water heater. Due to concerns over carbon monoxide fumes, an investigator turned off the LP tank.

COURT APPEARANCE

Pogrant appeared in Shawano County Court on Oct. 14. The judge ordered a $25,000 cash bond.

Pogrant has two open cases in Marathon County, including Domestic Violence/2nd Degree Sexual Assault with Use of a Force.

No charges have been filed against the boy's mother.