Natalie Finn's siblings detail their home life

Their mother, Nicole Finn, is on trial for Natalie's death

DES MOINES - Local 5 is in Polk County Court for the murder trial of Nicole Finn.

Finn is charged in the 2016 death of her 16-year-old adopted daughter Natalie. Finn faces the following charges: Murder in the First Degree and Kidnapping in the First Degree (three counts).


Two of Natalie Finn's siblings, the brothers who lived with her in Nicole Finn's West Des Moines home, testified in court Wednesday. A third sibling, Natalie Finn's sister, will testify Tuesday morning.

The Finn children have not seen their mother Nicole since she was arrested about one year ago. The two kids who testified  talked about Nicole, Natalie and what it was like living inside their home.

Nicole was seen wiping away tears when her children testified. Before her children spoke, a DHS worker, Amy Sacco, testified. She had been inside the Finn home just months before Natalie died. Sacco detailed the August 2016 visit, saying the home was littered with piles of clothes everywhere and that the kids were dirty. The case worker said Natalie and her siblings told her they did not take showers or change their clothes because they wanted attention. Sacco also talked with Nicole Finn about what concerns she had.

"She stated to me 'i can't supervise the kids 24 hours a day, i can't make them bathe,'" Sacco said. "It appeared that she was having difficulty with the children's' behaviors." Polk County prosecutors asked, “And that’s how you brought up the idea of here’s some other resources?” Sacco said she gave Nicole Finn information about resources, but noted that Nicole Finn did not want that information.

After Sacco wrapped up her testimony, the Finn children started to take the stand. The court did not allow media to film video or record any audio while the Finn children were on the stand. Local 5 is only referencing the children by using their initials because they are still minors.

First to take the stand was one of Natalie's brothers, N. Finn. He lived in a room separate from the rest of his siblings. He told the prosecution that Natalie, his sister M. Finn and his brother J. Finn all needed to get permission from their mother Nicole to go to the bathroom or take a shower. They also had to be supervised when they did so, either by Nicole of by N. Finn.

N. Finn continued his testimony, saying his siblings were also not to leave their shared room without permission. He said Nicole tied a laundry basket and pillow case to the door, so that any time it opened, she would know someone was trying to get out. N. Finn said Natalie and the other two children would go to the bathroom inside their room, so Nicole removed their beds and the carpeting because it started to smell bad.

When it came to food in the house, N. Finn said he usually ate separately from his siblings. He would get to eat wherever he wanted in the home, but Natalie and the others ate in the hallway.

In the days leading up to Natalie's death, N. Finn said Natalie was having trouble walking and would walk like an elderly person. On the night of Natalie's death, N. Finn said he heard yelling and saw Natalie on the floor. He says Nicole Finn came into the room, began doing CPR on Natalie and told him to call 9-1-1.

When the defense questioned N. Finn, his answers painted a different picture of what went on inside the Finn home. He said his siblings did get fed, and it was Natalie who started refusing to eat. N. Finn said the other two siblings followed her lead.

N. Finn said Nicole encouraged her kids to get out of their rooms so they could clean up. He also said he remembered instances when Nicole would try to be positive with the kids, but Natalie would often swear at her and slam doors inside the house.

Natalie's other brother, J. Finn, was the next to take the stand. J. Finn testified that Nicole would often be in the garage, so she couldn't hear them if the children said they needed to use the bathroom. J. Finn said he and his two sisters shared a room and they slept on the same floor where they would pee. He also testified that it was often hard to get a chance to ask to use the bathroom of take a shower because their mother was busy or sleeping.

J. Finn described a similar situation for when they wanted to eat. He mentioned he once went without food for two weeks. J. Finn also said Natalie never said she did not want to eat.

On the night of Natalie's death, J. Finn said Nicole told him and his sisters to take a nap. But when they woke up, that's when they noticed something was wrong. He says Natalie had vomited and that she was cold to the touch.

The prosecution will call a third Finn child, Natalie's younger sister M. Finn, to testify on Thursday morning. Court will be back in session around 9 a.m.

Stay tuned to and Local 5 News for live updates throughout the trial

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