Girl, 12, dies weighing just 50 pounds; DA says she was subjected to 'evil' and 'torment'

The girl would be shackled, the D.A. said, and would be punished by sometimes being denied food for days.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024
Girl, 12, dies weighing just 50 pounds; DA says she was subjected to 'evil' and 'torment'
Girl, 12, dies weighing just 50 pounds; DA says she was subjected to 'evil' and 'torment'

WEST CALN TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Two people have been charged after an emaciated and badly injured 12-year-old girl died following months of abuse, the Chester County district attorney said.

Malinda Hoagland weighed just 50 pounds when she died, investigators say. She also suffered from at least a half-dozen broken bones, bruises, and organ failure.

The girl was subjected to "evil and torment that no child should ever have to endure," D.A. Christopher de Barrena-Sarobe said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

Malinda's biological father, 52-year-old Rendell Hoagland, and her stepmother, 45-year-old Cindy Warren, both of West Caln Township, are charged with attempted murder.

Rendell Hoagland and Cindy Warren
Rendell Hoagland and Cindy Warren

But, de Barrena-Sarobe said investigators are awaiting the results of various medical reports to decide whether to charge the two with murder.

The investigation began after Rendell Hoagland called 911 on Saturday, reporting that Malinda was unconscious and unresponsive.

She was rushed to the hospital but ultimately died. Malinda was "broken" and "barely alive," de Barrena-Sarobe said.

Malinda Hoagland
Malinda Hoagland

Hoagland allegedly claimed Malinda struck a tree while riding her bicycle, according to the affidavit, but de Barrena-Sarobe said even if that were true, it would in no way explain the extent of her injuries and emaciated state.

During the ensuing investigation, de Barrena-Sarobe said Malinda had been pulled out of school in late November and was shifted to an online cyber school in December.

Malinda was previously part of the Coatesville Area School District at North Brandywine Middle School, according to school officials.

Dr. Catherine Van Vooren, superintendent of the Coatesville Area School District, released the following statement on Malinda to Action News:

"This district is devastated. The school had concerns about the child's welfare in the fall and diligently reported those concerns to Children and Youth Services and shortly thereafter the child was withdrawn and enrolled in a cyber charter school."

Videos from both the suspects' phones and in-home camera system showed Malinda had been ankle-cuffed to furniture and was verbally berated while at home, the D.A. said.

Chester County DA holds news conference on child death investigation

Hoagland and Warren would also punish Malinda by demanding she perform strenuous physical exercise such as squats, or running in place while she was still shackled, de Barrena-Sarobe said.

She would also be denied food, sometimes for days, as punishment for "perceived slights," according to the D.A.

Police add that Warren has a prior conviction for endangering the welfare of a child in Monroe County, related to the physical abuse of her 3-year-old son, and for the beating death of a 2-year-old child in her care.

That case took place back in 2007.

Neighborhood residents told Action News they are shocked and appalled by the alleged abuse.

"Unfortunately, we live in a very depraved world," said Greg Cooper from West Caln Township. "And we see crazy, crazy, insane things like this."

Some said while they didn't know the family well, they never expected this.

"I have a hard time comprehending that," one neighbor stated.

Now, residents say they wish Malinda could've gotten help sooner.

"Guard your children. Be aware of what's going on in your community and that's all I can say," said Cooper.

Hoagland and Warren were arrested on Monday night and are both being held on $1 million bail.

The Coatesville Area School District also announced it will be coordinating grief counselors and trauma services on Wednesday.