A teenage girl who was starved to death by her adoptive mother weighed just six stone when she died in October 2016.
Heartbreaking images of tragic Natalie Finn show the emaciated 16-year-old covered with blood and scratches after being starved and left to die on the floor by Nicole Finn.
A court heard 43-year-old Finn, of West Des Moines, Iowa, kept Natalie and siblings Mikayla and Jaden locked in a filthy bedroom without furniture.
They were not allowed regular access to food or a bathroom for months and would often climb out a window of their home and seek food from neighbours.
Experts said Mikayla and Jaden were at risk of starving to death as well and spent months recovering after Natalie suffered cardiac arrest.
Prosecutors described mother-of-five Finn as more concerned about her animals than her children.
Local media said Mikayla testified in court that she would drink from a toilet because she was so thirsty and that Natalie had almost no fat or muscle on her when she died.
A photograph of a note written by one of the five children under Finn’s care reads: ‘Can’t open window, mom nailed it shut!’
Judge Karen Romano called Finn’s actions inexcusable and ordered her to not have any contact with her adopted children.
‘The court cannot imagine what kind of mental trauma these children have suffered,’ Romano said.
Finn was given three life sentences without parole on Friday.
Last month she was found guilty of first-degree murder and three counts of kidnapping.
Finn said she intends to appeal but made no other comment after hearing the sentences.
Finn’s ex-husband, Joe Finn II, has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, neglect or abandonment and child endangerment.
He wasn’t living with the rest of the family when Natalie died. His trial is scheduled to begin April 30.
Neighbors and school officials reported their concerns about Natalie Finn’s treatment to state child welfare authorities.
After obtaining a court order and visiting the home, the officials declined to remove the girl or her siblings.
A child protective worker was later fired amid inquiries by the Department of Human Services, legislators and the Iowa Office of Ombudsman.
In final arguments, the defence said Nicole Finn was detached from reality.