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Missing girl found amid torture
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published June 17, 2007
ORLANDO - The search for a missing 2-year-old girl led police to Wisconsin, where they found the toddler alive and living with a tortured boy and the body of a woman buried in the back yard, authorities said Saturday.
Wisconsin authorities received a tip from the Lake County Sheriff's Office on Thursday and found Courtney Alisa Clark along with three other children in Portage, Wis. Officials returned the next day to find a malnourished 11-year-old boy hiding in a closet and a woman buried outside. She had been there since around Memorial Day, Lake County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Christie Mysinger said.
Courtney's mother, Candace Clark, 23, and Michaela Clerc, 20, who was also in the home were arrested. Michael Sisk, Clark's boyfriend, fled before authorities realized he was inside. He was arrested later in Milwaukee, police said.
All three are in custody in Wisconsin and charged with the physical abuse of a child, authorities said.
The 11-year-old boy was found starving and covered with burns from boiling water, said Lt. Mark Hahn of the Portage Police Department. A pediatrician confirmed the child had been serially tortured and intentionally kept from eating. Hahn said the boy's condition was the worst he'd seen during his 26 years in law enforcement.
The name of the woman, who was believed to have been the boy's mother, has not been released. The body was found buried at least 6 feet deep in the back yard. Charges are pending, Mysinger said.
Columbia County Medical Examiner Marc T. Playman said he was awaiting fingerprint and possibly DNA analysis to make a positive determination.
The woman appears to have been strangled and to have sustained numerous injuries suggesting she was physically abused, Playman said Saturday.
Clark allegedly abducted Courtney from a foster home in Lake County in 2006 after telling the foster parents her case had been dismissed, Mysinger said.
The little girl was first taken from Clark in 2006 from the Safe Children Coalition in Pinellas County and placed in a Lake County foster home. The agency still has legal jurisdiction of the child, Mysinger said.
Lake County Detective Jim Vachon began investigating the whereabouts of Courtney in January and notified Portage police on Thursday after he learned that Sisk could be living there, officials said.
Authorities said they didn't know when Courtney would return to Florida.