MADISON (WKOW) -- We're hearing about progress made by the victim in a suspected child abuse case since she's left her father's care.
Chad Chritton faces seven counts of child abuse. He's accused of leaving his 15-year-old daughter, known as SLC, in the basement with no food or a bathroom. She was found last February after escaping the home. She weighed less than 70 pounds.
SLC's foster mother took the stand Thursday afternoon to testify about the past year she's spent caring for Chritton's daughter. 27 News is not releasing the woman's name to protect the girl's privacy in her new home.
The foster mother testified that since SLC has lived with her new family she's really grown. At first, the girl was having trouble controlling her food intake and would sneak food to hoard at night. The foster mom says the girl would gather things from the house to care for herself. The foster mom says she helped SLC learn how to eat the proper amount of food and the girl now weighs about 120 pounds.
The foster mother testified that the girl doesn't have behavioral problems as the defense has suggested in the trial, and she hasn't witnessed any violent or aggressive behavior.
The woman who is a former school psychologist also testified that SLC is back in school. Although the girl is 16-years-old now, she was enrolled in 5th grade. The foster mom said that SLC wasn't socially or educationally prepared for her age-appropriate grade level. She's picked up extracurricular activities like running and playing the flute. Teachers told the foster mother that she behaves well in class, but is quiet.
The foster mother told the court that SLC still has trouble socially and struggles with trust, but she's come a long way since last February.
"[SLC] and I talked and just kinda marveled at the idea of where she had come; where she was when she first came, how she was afraid of so much," says the foster mother.
The foster mother says SLC always sticks close by her side and they never leave each other's company without SLC saying she'll be right back and checking if the foster mother is going away. The foster mother testified that she did initially feel a little overwhelmed that SLC needed to be close all the time, but never overwhelmed by the girl's behavior.
Also on Thursday afternoon, the jury heard from two Madison police detectives who testified about evidence collected at the Chritton's home. The prosecution introduced dozens of photos showing conditions inside the house, including the video security system installed in the basement.
Prosecutors say the girl was kept there and starved, but the defense argues Chritton worried his daughter had behavioral problems if she ate sugar. The detective testified there was no shortage of food in the home.
"There was a lot of food in the kitchen," says Det. Lindsey Luddon. "There was also food up in the master bedroom; all cookies and snacks and a box of hohos."
Luddon also described conditions of SLC's bed in the basement, showing photos of a soiled and moldy mattress and bed sheets.
SLC is expected to testify first thing Friday morning in the trial against her father. Her two young step brothers are also expected to take the stand on Friday. Stay with 27 News and wkow.com for the latest on this case.
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