Milwaukee ‘House of Horrors’ mom fakes happy family life with her two sons, ages 7 and 9, on social media

Milwaukee 'House of Horrors' mom fakes happy family life with her two sons, ages 7 and 9, on social media

A Milwaukee mother facing child neglect and incarceration charges after her two sons ran away from their ‘horror movie’ home shared glossy photos of her family online – when in reality the boys were living in squalor.

Katie Koch, 34, and her boyfriend, Joel Mann, 38, were both arrested after the boys, aged seven and nine, broke a window of their home on July 13 and escaped naked and in bed.

One witness said the little boys acted like ‘cavemen who have never seen the sun’ as they roamed the streets.

Yet Koch used his Instagram account to paint a very different picture, showing a happy family where the boys spent time with their grandmother, played in the snow, enjoyed baking and decorating for Christmas, and went on fun road trips.

Katie Koch, 34, and her boyfriend, Joel Mann, 38, were spotted in a photo posted on Instagram. Koch often shared pictures depicting a happy family life, when in reality his sons were incarcerated and living destitute lives.

Katie Koch, 34, the mother of the boys who fled the ‘house of horrors’ last week, faces four felony counts and two misdemeanor counts of child neglect and false imprisonment, while her boyfriend, Joel Mann, 38, is charged with four felony counts.

Mannke told investigators he has lived in the home since 2007, while Koch said he moved in with his children about four years ago.

He made his first appearance on social media in October 2019, around the same time Koch and his children moved in with him.

For Halloween that year, the family dressed up — Manke and Coach onesies and a child in a Paw Patrol outfit, with a relative dressed as a ladybug.

In November 2019, Koch showed off her son Chase’s baking skills, posting a photo of the seemingly-delighted toddler with a tray of brightly colored cupcakes.

During the holidays in 2019, a boy is shown decorating the house with a Christmas wreath and another in a ‘Happy New Year’ outfit.

The healthy family images continued throughout 2020: the boys were shown playing in the snow, and the coach praised Manke as a great stepfather.

One of the boys was shown tying multicolored cupcakes

Another photo shows the child hanging a garland to celebrate Christmas

The family marked New Year’s Eve in 2019 with a celebration at home

In 2020 the family is shown playing in the snow

In June 2020, the boys were shown running to hug their grandmother

In October 2020, the family celebrated Dominique’s fifth birthday

In June 2020, boys rush to hug their grandmother, throwing themselves into her arms. Four months later, the family celebrated Dominique’s fifth birthday with balloons and funky costumes.

Her last photo with the kids was posted in January 2021, celebrating Manak’s 36th birthday.

‘Hippo birdie to you, my love, I am so blessed to know you. All of you. Who you really are, for real,’ she wrote alongside a photo of the boys and Manak with her.

‘You are an amazing man, best friend, father to our boys and father to all our furbabies, and every single other role you fill.

May ’36 is the best year yet. Here’s to many, many, many, many years, Odin!!!!’

The last photo he posted of himself was a month later. His final post was in January of this year, and contained several goth memes.

Investigators said the boys appeared to have lived in squalor for years, were not toilet trained and had not had a haircut or seen a doctor since 2019.

Koch home-schooled his sons.

During a police interview, Mann said he knew the living conditions were not good for the children, but he had to ‘pick his battles’ with the coach to avoid an argument.

The coach was filmed looking distraught at a subsequent court hearing as a prosecutor outlined the abuse and neglect he allegedly inflicted on his children.

Police who responded to a 911 call from a resident near Lakeside East Wisconsin said the home was so covered in items that the floor was not visible, describing it as a ‘terrible hoarding situation.’

Neighbors first saw her children – whose hair was covered in faeces – peeking through a broken window on July 13.

On Monday, Koch appeared in Milwaukee County Intake Court, where the assistant district attorney described the living conditions as ‘something out of a horror movie.’

Image: ‘House of Horrors’ where seven- and nine-year-old boys escaped naked and covered in blood, hair covered in faeces, after breaking free through a broken window last week

They said the boys climbed into an air conditioning unit through a window before jumping into the yard and walking down the street completely naked.

Street resident Christine Eder said the children looked like they had ‘never been outside.’

‘They just walked differently,’ said Eder.

‘Their hair looked like it had never been brushed, never cut. They didn’t know the outside existed.’

Eder said the isolated house is usually quiet, and he’s never seen anyone go in or out before, let alone hear the kids.

She was stunned by the scene outside the normally unremarkable home and watched over the boys while her husband called 911.

On Monday, Koch appeared in Milwaukee County Intake Court, where the assistant district attorney described the living conditions as ‘something out of a horror movie.’

Mallory Davis said the boys were locked in their rooms, with windows boarded up and doors locked from the outside.

Conditions were so bad that children had to shave their heads because their hair was matted with faeces.

“These children have been horribly damaged by their mother’s actions,” Davis said.

‘They are completely illiterate. They are not potty trained, even at their age.

‘They are, essentially at this point, unable to function in society.’

Koch, whose hair was also badly matted into his police mask, also ‘admitted the house was unlivable’ and said ‘his boys deserved better’, according to WDJT.

Neighbor Christine Eder said the children looked like they had ‘never been outside’. ‘They just walked differently. Their hair looks like it’s never been brushed,’ she said

Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Mallory Davis said, ‘These children have suffered horribly because of their mother’s actions.

Koch was set on $30,000 cash bail, which officials said he was unable to post.

Mannack’s cash bail was set at $6,500, and it is unclear if he has posted it.

If convicted on all charges, they each face up to 43 years in prison and up to $120,000 in fines.

The coach faces an additional $20,000 fine and 18 months in prison for the two misdemeanors.

Their preliminary hearing will be held on July 26.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said he hopes those responsible for the ‘horrific’ treatment of children ‘will be brought to justice.’

“I’m glad those children were able to escape, it’s a terrible, unfortunate situation,” he said.

‘No child should have to endure this kind of experience, especially not with their relatives, in any home, in Milwaukee or Wisconsin or any community in the United States.

‘I hope the parents of those responsible will see some justice in this matter.’


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