Lea-Sophie was a beautiful 5 year old German girl, who was starved to death and neglected by her parents.  It is horrifying to me that the cases of starvation in child abuse are rising in numbers – ALL OVER THE WORLD.

Lea-Sophie entered this world on July 8, 2002 to parents Nicole and Stephan.  By all counts she was a happy, healthy child, who may have had some picky eating habits, but nothing that put her health into concern.  That is until her baby brother was born.  Once the baby boy was born (he was found to be a great health), Lea-Sophie’s parents simply began ignoring their daughter, not even attending to her most basic needs, namely being fed.

Lea-Sophie's Headstone

Lea-Sophie’s Headstone

On November 20, 2007, an anonymous call was placed to the authorities regarding a little girl.  That little girl was Lea-Sophie.  When authorities arrived at the home to investigate, they discovered little Lea-Sophie only moments from death, unresponsive and curled into a tight ball, weighing only 15.4 pounds.  My sons weighed that much at 3 months old, Lea-Sophie, was 5 YEARS old.  This little angel was rushed to the hospital in Schwerin, Germany, with severe deficiency symptoms, bed sores, and in excruciating pain.

Lea-Sophie's Mother, Nicole and Father, Stephan

Lea-Sophie’s Mother, Nicole and Father, Stephan

Doctor’s attempted to save her life, but the damage to her body was just too great, and her little heart could not keep going anymore.  Lea-Sophie’s fight was over only hours after being discovered.

An autopsy of Lea-Sophie confirmed that this beautiful little girl’s cause of death was dehydration, malnourishment and ulcers.

Lea Sophie's Body

Lea Sophie’s Body

Here is where I can’t contain my rage, Lea-Sophie’s parents actually claimed that the little girl died because she was refusing food.  REFUSING FOOD.  Any parent, hell any person who has ever been tasked with taking care of a living thing, knows that a child would never let themselves starve to death.  A 5 year old baby girl would not just simply choose to stop eating and die.  Kids might refuse to eat for a day or two, for whatever reason their little minds deem worthy, but they will always cave when those hunger pains kick in.



I know my boys, they only took 30 minutes after refusing supper before they claimed to be starving to death, dramatically begging for the broccoli that they had only minutes before called unfit for humans!  The excuses and finger pointing only continued from here.

Lea-Sophie’s mother, Nicole, told the courts “It should never have gone that far.”

Lea-Sophie's Mother, Nicole and Father, Stephan

Lea-Sophie’s Mother, Nicole and Father, Stephan

YOU THINK???  Nicole claimed to feel ashamed that she struggled to care for her family and household.  When Stephan took his turn speaking to the courts, he stated “There is no worse punishment for a person than the loss of a daughter.  I have failed as a father.”  That’s the understatement of a lifetime.  Forget failed as father, both of these monsters failed as HUMAN BEINGS.



Stephan went further in an attempt to blame Nicole solely for Lea-Sophie’s torture and murder.  He said that he left most of the responsibility for his daughter’s care up to Nicole.  He even stated that he was the one to call for an ambulance, even though Nicole did not want him to after they found Lea-Sophie unresponsive when they returned from a walk with their son and dogs.

Lea-Sophie's Funeral

Lea-Sophie’s Funeral

Is anyone else wondering why even leaving a 5 year old child at home alone doesn’t seem to strike this idiot as wrong and irresponsible in and of itself??  He then took it to an all time low level and stated that it was Lea-Sophie’s fault, as she was the one that responded to the birth of her baby brother with behavioral problems and refusal to eat.  “I had hoped it would get better on its own.” Stephan stated.



During the trial, psychiatric experts testified that they had seen symptoms of personality disorders in both parents.  They stated that Stephan often used video games to escape his troubles.  These same experts stated that Nicole and Stephan didn’t seek medical care for Lea-Sophie for fear that child services would take her away.  As Lea-Sophie’s health deteriorated, the family became increasingly isolated to hide what was truly happening in their home.



By doing so, they ensured that she was not taken away by child protective services, but instead was taken from this world permanently.  It is disgusting to hear laziness classified as a personality disorder.  When did playing video games equate to a personality disorder??

It also seems that Germany’s CPS works just as dysfunctional as North American CPS agencies.  It turns out that Lea-Sophie could have been saved, had the reports made of her neglect actually been investigated.



Instead the reports were just pushed to the side, and a beautiful little girl lost her life in a horrific, painful, lonely way.  As a result of the mishandling of Lea-Sophie’s case, Schwerin’s mayor was actually removed from his position.  At least Germany takes some action, it’s more the western society can claim.






On the place where Lea-Sophie was laid to rest, was a hand written note from her parents, her murderers.  It read:

Lea-Sophie's Grave

Lea-Sophie’s Grave

“Little princess, we cannot understand what happened, you are no longer there … You always remain our little princess.  I’m sorry that we were not there for you … you will never be forgotten.”

I struggle to see what part of this they don’t understand.  If you do not feed a child, they will die.  It’s not complicated.



After their conviction on murder charges, Nicole and Stephan were sentenced to 11 years and 9 months for the starvation of their daughter.  Upon handing down the sentence, Judge Robert Piepel commented “Both of the accused stood by and did nothing while their own flesh and blood wasted away in misery.  The parents denied their daughter help that would have been so easy to get.”  While I share the sentiments, I still have to ask how these two monsters got away with murdering their daughter, in a torturous manner, only being sentenced to just under twelve years.  Is that what Lea-Sophie’s life is valued at – 11 years and 9 months?  Is that what has been deemed her worth?  How can we in all honesty pretend to call this justice?  I hope that one day I will live in a world that values children for what they are, priceless and invaluable.  These babies lives are worth more than a few years in prison, and until we start treating them as we should, the abuse, neglect and murder of our children will only continue to increase.

Lea-Sophie - Beautiful to Bones

Lea-Sophie – Beautiful to Bones

I am grateful that Lea-Sophie is no longer in pain, but that doesn’t make the  loss of her life any better.  This could have and should have been prevented.  We failed this little girl, and the only thing we can do in an effort to begin to work towards atoning for that failure, is to protect other children from suffering the same fate as Lea-Sophie.

 Lea Sophie - Heaven to Home




BIRTHDAY 07.08.2002


~ by LTWH on November 15, 2013.


  1. As a parent of now 4 grown up children, a grandma and working with pre school children, I will never understand how a parent can commit such torture on their children and then there is the “professionals” Social workers who for some unknown reason can not see if a child is being neglected, or if they do worse still do nothing, Doctors who take the word of the parents and never look in to it thoroughly, through out my career I have always told my staff “If you can sleep at night you have done your job”. This torture is an abuse of power, stiffer sentences must be given whether it be prison or psychiatric hospital, sterilisation, for both if found guilty. Professionals struck off, and equally important we all need to be vigilant for signs of abuse physical, mental, sexual. These Hyenas crimes against children are societies responsibilities,We should hang our heads in Shame!!!!!!!

  2. 11 years and 9 months.

    About twice her little life. And only a fraction of the parents’.

    They should have to go the distance without any food.

  3. I am at a loss for words, how a So called parent can do this to a precious, innocent Gift from God is totally beyond comprehension! I read only today about two other children dying from cancer, and these parents did everything in their power to save their angels: you two are not fit to raise children, you deserve each other, and in my opinion, you came off light for in your sentencing for the Hell you inflicted on this precious, gorgeous little angel! May she Rest in Peace now, with our Heavenly Father!!

  4. Knowing how evil people can be just makes my skin crawl. Who could EVER do this to an innocent child? Just who? I just want to rescue all these poor babies and take them away from those terrible people.

  5. I cannot believe the evil that happens.These monsters should be sentenced to death, Eye for an eye. The poor little innocent angels taken by these demons makes me sad and angry that it still goes on in this day n age. Utter B*****ds. DEATH PENALTY FOR ALL OF THEM!!

  6. My wife and I have a three year old. She will soon be 4 next month and she is our pride and joy At the age of three the doctors told us that she was overweight, but she is not obese. Now that tells us that she is very well taken care of, and it will remain that way. We could not imagine the suffering, the misery, nor the pain these little angels had to go through what they did from the hands of their parents… I WAS LIVID WHEN I SAW A FEW OF THESE!!!!!!! my wife and I both agree that yes children do sometimes get out of hand but you can control it without having to abuse, neglect, or punish children. It’s ridiculous that people don’t think about stuff like this and they just go about living their everyday lives like nothing is going on. I agree that it happens all over the world but most importantly it’s happening in our country and nobody is doing anything about. I think that this website is a great way to spread the word and educate people on this whole subject……. SO MY AND I WOULD LIKE TO GIVE YOU PROPS FOR BEING ABLE TO STAND UP AND HAVE THE GUTS TO MAKE A WEBSITE LIKE THIS because most people don’t have the courage to do it. So from my wife and I THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!!!!! YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE US BEHIND YOU…….

  7. I know I may needa break from my lil girl at times but I could never do that to my baby never if a parent don’t wnt there child don’t hurt them give them to ppl that would love them …… it is so sad makes me cry

  8. Ahhhhh this angers me on so many levels!!!! Aside from the parents, but reports saying a personality disorder is some how involved is crap just crap!!! I am a manic depressive along with borderline personality disorder, and im single 23 year old mum to a autistic four year old. Sorry but personality disorders are no excuse! Period!

  9. My question is shouldn’t this child at least have had a yearly check up and when that didn’t happen why didn’t a Dr office have it checked out ? That poor child that poor poor child God will pass judgment on those parents but if I could they deserve what they did and then some I have 3 children 18 months, 4 and 10 I do need breaks they annoy me challenge me but also give the greatest gifts compassion love a purpose for life their tiny hands and arms wrapped around me just makes me melt nothing compares to it our oldest is our only son and they are all equally special all equally unique I just don’t understand where the humanity went in these human brings …

  10. May this sweet, innocent little angel rest in peace with Our Lord Jesus, Mother Mary, all of the powerful Saints and angels in heaven where she no longer is at the mercy of such heartless human beings.

  11. I am In no way defending these to for the death they caused but the “personality disorder” could also be considered an addiction. It could have even been a form of depression the parents had. But they should’ve immediately seeked help instead of neglecting their daughter.

  12. As a survivor of documented extreme child abuse and starvation I can say that Sophie’s story really hits home with me. I would be starved and locked in a closet….only to be found by police or detectives. I would go to foster care, be fattened up and sent right back home to “her”. I refuse to call her mother because she wasn’t one. As I grew older…the abuse continued…not only from her but any low life man she allowed in. Then when I turned 7 she met the monster that forever changed who I was. Not that I hadn’t been changed before he arrived. It has taken me a life time to “trust” and even then I find it a four letter word. I still check my pantry to make sure there is enough food and I keep food under my bed. I am in my 40’s now. I suffer from ill health….the lasting effects of being systematically starved, neglected, and abused without dr. intervention. I learned after having a complete MRI…..I have suffered 26 fractures and breaks. I was 12 when I was finally removed from her care for the last time. The sexual abuse I suffered still haunts me. I still have a habit of trying to stay awake by rocking myself…incase “he” comes back into my bed. She sexually abused me as well….but nobody talks about the mothers who do this kind of thing. I was told to “forget about it” and live my life. Are you kidding? You can’t forget things like that. I was told the memories would fade with time. They haven’t. The word closure is a joke to abused children who still live inside the adult. There is no closure until we close our eyes and breathe our last. IF I had a nickel for the number of people who heard me scream, saw my emaciated body, and did nothing….I’d be rich. When you don’t report abuse…your a part of it. When you don’t report it…..your helping to ruin a child’s potential. When you close your eyes to what is happening…..your just as cold as the abuser. When you shut down….the abused child, teen, or adult that needs to talk about it…..your cruel. When you tell a person to just “pretend” it didn’t happen….you are robbing them of the reality that it did happen. Instead, just listen, give them a hug…ask if you can just sit beside them until they feel better. Don’t try to give advice on something you know nothing about. The effects of child abuse last a life time. They don’t heal. The pain may dull with time….but your never a whole person. More like a hole person. I have spent a lifetime trying to put together what was torn apart. Most people who talk about abuse… the so called experts haven’t the slightest idea what they are talking about. Thanks for reading!

    • Hi Skillt Reed – My name is Nadine, I am the founder of Lighting Their Way Home. I’m sorry if this seems strange, but I would love the chance to talk to you, please email me at NadineRisi@hotmail.com Your story is heart breaking, I think I may have something you could be a part of, something that is helping fellow survivors and making a big difference.

    • First of all I want to thank you for speaking out about this and I agree with you 100%. I was abused by my stepmother and my step uncle (her brother). My father was a coal miner and I did not see him much but he was always good to me. My stepmother would alternate between feeding me until I vomited then I would be beaten with a wooden spoon and forced to eat the food I had just thrown up( saying what an ungrateful little bitch I was and that I should never have been born). Afterwards I would be locked up in my bedroom closet for days with no food or water and no bucket to even pee into either. She would open the door a crack and shine a flashlight in my eyes and shove a small medicine cup of water at me each day tho which tasted as if it had white vinegar mixed with it. This also made my stomach hurt. When my father would return home I would tell him about this and she would tell him I was being unruly and acting up to get attention. I was not believed. She made him believe it hurt myself for attention. I was not taken to a regular pediatrician for vaccinations and when questioned about this by the school she claimed “religious reasons” and I was allowed to attend school without them. I was burned with cigarettes on the soles of my feet, my buttocks, my privates and my nipples. All of this was covered up by shoes or clothes. When the school questioned my frequent absences she claimed I was a sickly child and was ill and couldn’t go to school. She was believed. I did tell and the case was finally “investigated”. They talked with my step mother who convinced them that I was harming myself. That was the investigation.
      I was taken away but like you I was always returned to my “loving” stepmother. She was manipulative and controlling and lying and everyone always believed her. Things got worse when her brother moved in with us. He was a policeman and I thought that I was going to be fine now. Wrong. He began sexually abusing me and when I was taken to the ER because of bleeding down there I said he did it. Again I was not believed and was accused of doing it to myself through masturbation. After all my step uncle was a cop and he’d never ever do something like that. I was then diagnosed with a manipulative personality and as a pathological liar. My stepmother’s doing and he was just as bad. I was eventually taken away and placed in a juvenile detention center for theft. That was my way out and it worked, but while in there my stepmother convinced my father to give me up. How she did this I do not know but he did.
      Everyone always heard about the murdered children but what about the children who survived? The didn’t die but you’re right you still suffer through health problems and nightmares. Abuse is like throwing a pebble into a pond..the ripples eventually spread out touching everything in your life. The abuser should suffer the same pain that they inflicted upon the child.

  13. I personally think they should have gotten life.I’m not a mother,I’m a kid myself.But I’m the oldest out of four and I would never do that to a child.Those people were sick monsters.

  14. je ne comprends pas, 5 ans , la nourriture etait fermee a cle dans cette famill ?

  15. Idk maybe this was an especially picky child and her just born brother was one of those really colicky hard to deal with babies. Not that that justifies letting your other child starve to death but still find it weird that only this child was underfed and the other was fine.

  16. Unlike, American and Canadian parents, European parents tend to be a lot stricter with children including in regard to food. Either you will eat AND finish exactly what is put in front of you when it is put in front of you or you do not eat at all until the adults decide to give you more food. Some parents allow snacking and I was one of these some because my wife and mother of my children was an African-American, who thought a healthy child was one that was always with food in reach. If little Lea-Sophie refused more than 2 or perhaps 3 meals offered by her parents then a cycle of withholding food as punishment to teach her to be more appreciative and obedient would have begun. With time this cycle becomes more vicious and they began locking their daughter in a room alone and not bothering to feed her any meals. For more punishment they lavished attention on their son in an attempt to Lea-Sophie feel that she was ignored and unloved, because she was difficult and ungrateful. Unfortunately over time a tolerance to the hunger builds and the person no longer feels their pain. They do not cry out for food and do not do much at all until finally death comes. For this to happen to a child though the parents must have waited a very long time for Lea-Sophie to give in to their desires. My own son went on a hunger strike when his mother passed away, but this only lasted for 6 days before medical attention was sought and only for 3 days before the au pair began attempting to forcibly feed him. I was not trying to add Child Mistreatment and Neglect accusations to the problems I already had in my life at the time related to caring for young children alone, so I swallowed my pride along with the resentment I felt against this rebellious spoiled child and took my boy to professionals for proper treatment. Because I decided to HELP my child rather than PUNISH him for being a disturbed child, my son is now 25 years old and has lived 20 years more than dear little Lea-Sophie. After they initially became angry at her for not being difficult, they did not do a single thing to help her and for this reason I believe that Timmermann Stefan and Guthold Nicole did not deserve the leniency they were given. They do not deserve to raise the surviving son!

  17. I am not comparing a child to a dog in anyway shape or form but I have two dogs and if one of them go 2 to 3days max without eating then I am taking them to the vet.
    The parents don’t have a leg to stand on, if they were genuinely worried about their child not eating then they would of gone to the doctors to do everything and anything that they can.
    I hope that hand written letter was burnt.
    Lea-Sophie looked healthy at the beginning of her life but I believe when they had their son no thought or care went into her at all.
    I don’t think she refused to eat but rather they didn’t bother to feed her.
    Rest in paradise our little cherubs.

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