West Allis mom guilty in 6-year-old's death

Tasha Rockow

Tasha Rockow, a West Allis mother charged in connection with the death of her 6-year-old son pleaded guilty Wednesday, Aug. 10 to homicide and neglect charges.

Rockow was convicted of one count of second-degree reckless homicide; one count of neglecting a child, consequence is death and one count of physical abuse of a child, repeated acts causing bodily harm.

Hank "Asher" Brown-Rockow died at Children's Wisconsin on Sept. 6, 2021.

The West Allis Fire Department was called to a home near 73rd and Lapham for a report of a child with a stab wound. First responders arrived "within minutes" of the call.

WARNING: The following descriptions may be disturbing to some readers.

The boy was gray, appeared malnourished and had bruises covering his body "from head to toe." Officials noted a stab wound to his abdomen that appeared to be an "older injury." Instead of blood, "brown fluid was leaking from the wound." At the hospital, doctors found the boy's small intestine was torn, not from a stab wound but "blunt force trauma." One of the physicians also noted human bite marks, in addition to the other injuries.

The boy lived with his father most of his life. When his father passed away in 2020, Hank "Asher" Brown-Rockow was placed with his mother, who had no prior relationship with the child.

Rockow told police it was "normal behavior" for her son to play with knives on a regular basis. She also said the bruising was the result of not getting along with other children in the home who had hit the boy.

She said on Sept. 6, she was woken up by two children who said the boy had been playing with a knife and fell. She said she found him face down on the floor with a knife next to him. She called 911 and applied pressure to his abdomen.

Hank "Asher" Brown-Rockow

She had no explanation as to how the boy suffered bruising from head to toe and no explanation for the bite marks on his body. 

During her 911 call, her statements about the boy contradicted his actual condition, and she repeatedly made comments that other children had hit the boy.

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A neighbor said Rockow treated the boy "like a convict," not allowing him to sit on furniture and often denying him food.

A man who knew Rockow said she treated Brown-Rockow "like (expletive)." He said he once saw the boy handcuffed with his hands behind his back and his legs shackled. He asked Rockow why, and she said the boy steals knives. Three hours later, he saw the boy was still handcuffed.

Other witnesses confirmed Rockow chronically abused her child and had a "negative attitude" toward her son. 

First responders found the boy's bedding outside. There were two sets of metal handcuffs in Rockow's bedroom, consistent with what the man had told police. There was a knife on her dresser and another in the kitchen sink.

A review of Rockow's phone revealed searches such as "stomach bloating and swelling" and "five signs bloating is the sign of something more serious" within the hour prior to her 911 call.

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On previous occasions dating back to July 2021, Rockow's searches included "how to heal brain damage naturally" and "skull deformity after trauma." She also searched for "insane asylum safety restraints" and other types of restraints.

Police spoke with two other children who were living in the home at the time. One expressed concern for the boy but was afraid of saying "anything to implicate anyone" in his death. The other child was "vulgar, verbally abusive and displayed a significant dislike" of the 6-year-old. Both children were" surprised" to learn his cause of death.