Date registered: Aug 2006
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Only in a place called Sheboygan...............
Police: Mother shot 8-year-old daughter in leg to win $1 bet
Mother allegedly told her daughter not to say anything
A Sheboygan woman shot her 8-year-old daughter in the leg with a BB gun to win a $1 bet with her boyfriend, authorities said Friday.
Angelique R. Vandeberg, 28, now faces up to three years in prison on a felony count of intentional child abuse issued Friday. Vandeberg's daughter, a city elementary school student, told police her mother and the mother's boyfriend were drinking heavily before the shooting, which occurred April 26 or 27, according to a criminal complaint.
"In my time as a prosecutor I've seen alcohol influence people to do some strange things," said Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco. "When people are not in the state of mind to think right, you get strange things happening."
The girl said the shot initially hurt so much she was unable to walk, the complaint said.
Vandeberg, of 2704 S. 17th St., made an initial court appearance Friday and was released on a $5,000 signature bond. The complaint said a county social worker has been involved with the family dating to several months before the shooting, but authorities said confidentiality laws prohibit any comment on the case.
In general, Sheboygan County social workers try to keep families together, even in cases of child abuse, said Therese Janssen, child protective services supervisor.
"If at all possible, we put a safety plan in the home to keep the child (there)," she said, adding that the plan could include supervision by a social worker or in-home therapy. "If that works, that's our best-case scenario."
Vandeberg's attorney, public defender Patricia Adelman, did not return a phone call seeking comment Friday.
DeCecco declined to say if he will pursue charges against the boyfriend, though he said the investigation is ongoing. No additional charges are expected against Vandeberg, DeCecco said.
According to a criminal complaint:
Police began looking into the incident Wednesday after a school counselor reported it to police. The girl was shot three or four days earlier, but a circular bruise with a white-colored point in the middle remained visible on her thigh, the counselor said.
The girl said the shooting occurred in her mother's bedroom, where Vandeberg was with her boyfriend after she had consumed 10 to 12 beers.
The boyfriend bet Vandeberg $1 she wouldn't shoot the child, then handed her the BB pistol. Vandeberg took it and shot the girl. The bullet, which did not break the skin, bounced off her leg and struck her 7-year-old brother, who was not injured.
The boyfriend then grabbed the gun, ran out of the house and drove away. Vandeberg told her daughter not to say anything, advising that the incident was a "family thing" and the mother would go to jail if the girl told.
The child said she soon developed a stomachache and was in too much pain to walk, so she went to sleep.
Vandeberg, in an interview with a police detective, said the girl was lying to get her in trouble. She said the injury occurred three weeks ago when the girl fell while riding her bike and was hit in the leg by the handlebar.
DeCecco said prosecutors believe the girl's account.
"Even if a kid's upset with her parent, why would she make up a story of a BB being shot at her?" he said. "An 8-year-old child, it would appear to me, would not pick up on this particular avenue of vengeance."