WEST ALLIS — The district attorney's office has charged Tasha Rockow, 32 of West Allis, with neglect of a child resulting in death and a second count of false imprisonment.
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According to court documents, Rockow called 911 last Monday to report her son, 6-year-old Hank Brown-Rockow, had been stabbed.
Accounts from first responders describe finding a child cool to the touch and covered in bruises. They say the boy appeared malnourished.
A first responder told investigators he knew the boy's condition was the result of something "far more serious than a single stab wound."
Despite multiple attempts to revive Hank, he died at a hospital.
The criminal complaint says he died from blunt force trauma to his abdomen, not a stab wound, which appeared to be an older injury.
A criminal background check shows Rockow had previously been charged and convicted of child neglect.
Some neighbors seemed shocked there were allegations of abuse surrounding Rockow.
"I never had any issues with the mom or the kids. They always seemed like decent folks," said Brian Brinkley, a neighbor.
"They were happy, they played. Just the other day I saw them climbing on the porch," said Cathy Kelmhofer.
Another neighbor, however, detected signs of trouble.
"Other people have said they've seen her abusing him and stuff. And I've never seen him," said John Zychowicz, who said he often heard Rockow yelling at her children.
Witnesses in the report say Rockow abused her son and his older brothers beat him.
One witness told investigators, she treated Hank like a convict and even restrained her son with handcuffs.
Rockow told investigators that her son fell on a knife and was still responsive when she called 911.
According to the report, she also claimed not to know how her son became covered in bruises.
The criminal complaint says Hank came to live with his mother after his father died last year and that Rockow had no prior relationship with her son.
The complaint also says prosecutors anticipate filing more charges against Rockow as the investigation develops.