Anderson child abuse suspect is city bus driver

Steve Sells (Provided Photo/Madison County Jail)

MADISON COUNTY (WISH) — The Anderson man accused of locking up a teen girl in a bedroom is a city of Anderson Transit System bus driver.

The suspect is Steve Sells.

“Without that bus, I wouldn’t have a ride to work,” Mike Whitley said.

Whitley could not believe the news of Sells, a driver he sees all the time.

“He’s a relatively quiet guy, not anyone who would stand out. More like an average Joe like anyone you would see around town,” Whitley said.

But the court documents are anything but ordinary. Police say the girl was so thin her “bones were protruding” and she had “feces on her feet.”

A 4-year-old living in the same home said the girl was “locked in her room” and the child often saw her “stick her fingers out” through the door opening to try to get out.

“I can’t imagine doing that to any child any age 15, 10, 5 years old. I can’t fathom doing that to a child,” Whitley said.

Now police believe Sells didn’t do it alone. His wife, Joetta Sells, was also arrested Tuesday.

Joetta Sells (Photo provided by Madison County Jail)
Joetta Sells (Photo provided by Madison County Jail)

Documents show Steve Sells told police the girl has a chromosome “problem in her brain” and he locked her up to protect himself from her. Police say they don’t know how long the girl has been in this condition.

“That’s another issue under investigation is the duration of this abuse. How long it has been taking place? Who knew about this? These are all questions that we need to answer,” Anderson Police Detective Joel Sandefur said.

Meanwhile, Whitley copes with the allegations against someone he thought he knew.

“He seems like such a nice guy. It’s something I can’t picture,” Whitley said.

CATS staff told 24-Hour News 8 they have no comment on Sells’ arrest. He and his wife were in the Madison County Jail Tuesday night on a 72-hour hold, while police determine charges. The girl is being treated in an Indianapolis hospital. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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