LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. (TCD) -- A 43-year-old father pleaded guilty to torturing, starving, killing his 12-year-old son, whose malnourished body was found in a bed covered in feces.
PennLive.com reports Scott Schollenberger entered the plea for criminal homicide, endangering the welfare of a child, and conspiracy. He was sentenced to life in prison. His trial was reportedly set to start in March. Schollenberger’s fiancée Kimberly Maurer faces similar charges and will go to trial next month.
Schollenberger and Maurer were charged with his son Max’s death in September 2020. According to a Sept. 13, 2020, statement from the Lebanon County District Attorney’s Office, Annville Township Police responded to a home at 30 S. White Oak St. on May 26, 2020, at 12:05 p.m. after receiving a report about a deceased boy. Annville Police requested backup from the Lebanon County Detective Bureau because of the reportedly "horrific conditions they discovered inside the residence."
The District Attorney’s statement says detectives located Maxwell "Max" Schollenberger’s body in a bedroom on the second floor of the home. Max was reportedly malnourished and "completely naked and sprawled across the bed." The boy’s body and bed were "wholly covered in fecal matter," and feces were discovered under the bed frame as well. Detectives reportedly noticed "claw marks" on the sheets.
The bed was reportedly the only furniture inside the room, according to the statement. The windows "contained shades and doors," but the shades were "taped to the window frames and the doors were screwed shut." This meant Max could not see outside the window. On the outside of the door, detectives found three metal hooks that Scott said he used in order to "lock the victim inside his room."
An autopsy showed Max suffered from starvation and malnutrition and bunt force traumas "throughout the child’s head, face, and body." Max weighed 47.5 pounds and was only 50 inches tall. The medical examiner deemed his death a homicide. His cause of death was blunt force head trauma complicating starvation/malnutrition.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Scott Schollenberger and Maurer had kids together who were "healthy, well-adjusted, and cared for." One of the children told investigators their parents "refused to let the victim out of his room," and when Schollenberger and Maurer went in, the kids would hear Max "scream and cry."
Scott reportedly never enrolled Max in school. The boy also had not received medical care since he was 2 years old. WHP-TV reports Max’s mom Sarah Coon sued Lebanon County and accused Children and Youth Services for not paying attention to reports of his abuse.