Jesse and Trish Piatt were charged after the girl reportedly told officials at her school that she slept in a bathtub, ate in a bathroom, and drank toilet water.
The child lived in the Millington home with her father, stepmother, stepbrother, and stepsister.
A neighbor who did not want to be identified said the 9-year-old was treated differently from the other two children.
“When they moved in, shortly after, our kids became friends with theirs,” the neighbor said. “The youngest sibling she never came over. She was always doing yard work. She was out in the yard sometimes late at night.”
The woman said Trish Piatt said it was punishment for bad behavior. She told neighbors that the child had emotional issues.
Authorities started investigating in January after the fourth-grader stole food from her teacher at Millington Elementary School.
The girl started revealing details of her life, saying that she slept in a bathtub, ate in the bathroom and had to drink toilet water.
Police noticed the girl was thin, wearing “ill-fitting clothes” and had a shaved spot on her head.
Jesse, the child’s father, told investigators that the girl had a medical condition and the family was seeking help.
The 9-year-old told investigators that she slept in a storage house located in the back of the main house without a blanket or heat. The girl also said that Trish pushed her down and broke her arm.
Doctors who examined her said she showed signs of nutritional neglect, physical abuse, and psychological abuse.