Mother in torture case waives hearing


For The Daily News

ESCANABA – A mother accused of torturing and sexually abusing her own son for four years has waived the right to have a preliminary examination within 14 days of her arrest, according to Delta County District Court officials.

Susan Marie Bardo, 46, and her boyfriend, Carl James Pellinen, 47, were arrested earlier this month after officials removed her 15-year-old son from their residence at 1525 N. 20th St., Escanaba.

Bardo and Pellinen are each charged with first-degree child abuse, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and torture. Each felony carries a maximum sentencing of life in prison. The two remain lodged in jail without bond.

The couple was scheduled to appear for a preliminary examination in district court on Thursday. Bardo waived her right to have a preliminary hearing within 14 days of her arrest. No court date has been rescheduled.

As of this morning, Pellinen is still scheduled for a preliminary examination Thursday, according to district court officials.

During a preliminary hearing, evidence such as witness testimony and exhibits are presented in court. The judge then determines if there is probable cause the crimes were committed and the defendants committed the crimes. If so, the charges are forwarded to circuit court where the defendants can make a plea or go to trial.

On April 12, Escanaba Public Safety officers went to the house where Bardo and Pellinen resided because a relative of the boy asked officials to check on the child’s welfare. Police found the teen living upstairs in an 8-by-10-foot room made from tarps. Police said he was rarely allowed to leave the room.

After being interviewed at the police department about his living conditions, the child was transported to OSF St. Francis Hospital for a medical evaluation. He is now under the care of Child Protective Services.

According to Escanaba Public Safety Det. Lt. Darin Hunter, more than a dozen individuals have been interviewed in connection with the case.

After the official police report is completed, the prosecuting attorney will determine if additional charges will be pursued against Bardo or Pellinen, said Hunter, adding the case appears to be an isolated incident at this time.