Two children and their mother are said to have lived for about two months with the decaying body of a 90-year-old woman on the toilet of their home's only bathroom.
Wisconsin authorities say a religious "superior" had claimed the corpse would come back to life.
The children, ages 15 and 12, cried hysterically Wednesday after a deputy who came to the Necedah, Wis., home looking for the woman, Magdeline Alvina Middlesworth, ordered them out because of the stench from the body.
According to the criminal complaint, Middlesworth's sister called sheriff's officials Wednesday and asked them to go to the home about 80 miles north of Madison to check on the woman, who had not been heard from for some time.
The children are in foster care. Their mother, Tammy Lewis, and self-described "bishop" Alan Bushey remain in custody on felony counts of being a party to causing mental harm to a child.
Lewis told a deputy that Middlesworth, who one of the children referred to as "grandmother" in the criminal complaint, had appeared to pass out as Lewis helped her into her underwear.
She said she propped Middlesworth on the toilet and left the room to call Bushey, who told her to leave the woman alone and pray for her, the complaint said. He said he had received signs that God would raise her from the dead with a miracle.
Lewis went on to say she thought Middlesworth was still breathing when she put her on the toilet and called Bushey, instead of an ambulance. She later told a detective she put the woman on the toilet on March 4.
An autopsy has been performed, but results won't be available for some time, Juneau County Sheriff Brent Oleson said.
To me, the most amazing part of this story is that the house had only one bathroom. Where do you suppose these idiots defecated since March 4th?