Search warrant reveals new details in Natalie Finn case

Published: Mar. 16, 2017 at 7:11 AM CDT
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Search warrant documents detail the deplorable conditions inside a West Des Moines home where a 16-year-old girl died of malnutrition.


Trial set for parents of girl found starved to death

State senator calls Natalie Finn's death worst he's ever seen

The documents reveal that the children were kept in a room with no beds, and that boards were nailed over the home's windows because the children had been sneaking out of the house "panhandling for food down the street at a convenience store."

Authorities released documents pertaining to a search warrant executed at Nicole Finn’s home following the death of her daughter, 16-year-old Natalie Finn.

West Des Moines emergency responders were dispatched Oct. 24 to the 800 block of 15th Street to assist with lifesaving measures on Natalie Finn.

Finn was taken to a hospital, where she died.

According to the warrant, West Des Moines police said Natalie Finn appeared to have been laying on the floor of a bare room for some time when police and rescue crews found her. She was wearing an adult diaper.

Police reported that the home had a heavy smell of human and animal waste and that Natalie and her siblings shared a room covered in linoleum with “heavily soaked” blankets instead of beds.

According to the documents, "...there was a heavy smell of human and animal waste about the house. Many animals roamed freely, including well over a dozen kittens and cats and that there were numerous kennels with dogs scattered inside the residence."

Warrant document indicates that Natalie Finn’s siblings were taken to Blank Children’s Hospital following Natalie’s death and that physicians at the hospital indicated to authorities that the children were underweight.

Investigators said they determined Nicole Finn controlled the food intake of Natalie and her siblings in order to control their behavior and that the children did not attend school regularly.

During an interview with police, Nicole Finn's ex-husband, Joseph Finn, told investigators that he helped Nicole Finn nail the windows of the children’s room shut after learning the children had been sneaking out and “panhandling for food” at a nearby convenience store.

Joseph Finn also told investigators that he helped replace the carpet in the children’s room with linoleum.

State Senator Matt McCoy (D), Des Moines, said, "It's a horrific situation and I feel heartbroken for Natalie and her siblings who were, in essence, sealed in that room and left to die."

The search warrant indicates investigators were looking for computers, cell phones, notes, letters, calendars, photographs and any other information relating to the care of the children.

Prosecutors said Nicole and Joseph Finn kidnapped, starved and neglected Natalie Finn, who died in October of 2016.

Joseph Finn is charged with three counts of first-degree kidnapping, child endangerment causing serious injury and neglect of a dependent person.

Nicole Finn is charged with first-degree murder, child endangerment resulting in death and three counts of first-degree kidnapping, child endangerment causing serious injury and neglect of a dependent person.