Victim of Attachment Therapy
Rice Lake, Wisconsin
Killed age 7, 25 May 2006
Note: The following account has been prepared from press reports, personal interviews, trial transcripts, and other public records.
Angelica "Angie" Arndt lost her biological family when she was a toddler. After going from foster home to foster home, she seemed to find a stable home with foster parents Daniel and Donna Pavlik. As a foster child, she had been diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder and attention deficit. Donna Pavlik stated: "She at times could be a harder kid to handle. With reactive attachment, kids test boundaries and try to upset a good thing to see how long you are going to stick with them or give them up.” 0A social worker recommended a day treatment program to the Pavliks to prepare her for first grade. The Pavliks were reportedly concerned that Angie, normally a happy and energetic child, was not doing well at the center.
On May 25, 2006, Angie was having lunch with the other children at the Rice Lake Day Treatment Clinic in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. When staff told her to stop blowing bubbles in her milk and stop laughing, Angie continued to laugh. When she failed repeatedly to comply exactly with the staff’s orders to sit still, she was taken to a cool down room and then into prone restraint by two adults, one holding her ankles and another pressing down on her shoulders. The weight of one man (Bradley Ridout; approximately 250 pounds) on her back presumably caused her death. During this 98-minute restraint of the 56-pound child, she vomited and lost control of urine/feces; she complained of headache and eye pain; she struggled and cried for help; and possibly passed out. When finally still, the staff rolled her body over to see her blue, lifeless pallor.
Records show that during her 30 days at the Rice Lake Day Treatment Clinic, Angie was isolated in a “cool down” chair and restrained eight times for fidgeting, e.g. sitting inappropriately, falling asleep, not staying in her chair, crossing her feet, pulling her knees up, kicking off a shoe and putting her shirt over her head. Staff demanded perfection in following orders and had no consideration for her attention deficit disorder which made compliance difficult.
After her death, Angie was presented to the media as an “aggressive” child. A spokesman for a program Angie previously attended spoke to the press: “We at [Marriage and Family Health Services] feel an obligation to mention Angie in a more accurate light. She was not the aggressive, out of control child that was presented to the media. We hope that her loss can bring about change … the majority of children we serve have had enough trauma in their lives.”
Angie’s death was ruled a homicide. But Bradley Rideout entered no contest plea a single charge of misdemeanor negligent patient abuse. No one in the management or ownership of the Rice Lake Day Treatment Clinic was held responsible for the center’s faulty restraint policies. Although the Rice Lake center was closed, the owner -- Northwest Counseling and Guidance -- was allowed to keep its 11 other treatment centers open.
- “The short life of Angellika ‘Angie’ Arndt,” Information and links to press articles, prepared by Isabelle Zehnder, 7 Dec 2006.
- “Attorney General says Rice Lake clinic found guilty in girl's death,” Chippewa Herald, 56 Dec 2006.
- “Remembering Angellika ‘Angie’ Nicole Arndt,” links to press articles.