A mother and father who were found living with their seven children in “deplorable” conditions in rural Pennsylvania have been arrested and charged with multiple felonies.
Police were called to a trailer in West Rockhill, Pennsylvania, where they found the floor and walls disintegrating, and seven children ranging in age from four to 16 needing emergency medical attention, authorities say.
The children were wearing filthy clothing, and were surrounded by rats, bugs and faeces, Pennridge Regional Police Department said in a press release.
They had significant dental health issues and signs of eye care and malnourishment, police chief Paul Dickinson said.
A probable cause affidavit obtained by KLTV alleged that the seven children had received no formal education, and didn’t know their own birth dates.
The parents, Shane Robertson, 47, and 37-year-old Crystal Robertson have been charged with seven felony counts of endangering the welfare of children.
They have been released on bail, and the children have been placed in protective custody.
Neighbour Tammy Dehaven told KLTV she contacted authorities after seeing one of the malnourished children enter an abandoned trailer at the Green Top Trailer Park, about 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia, on 23 April.
One of the children, a 12-year-old girl, told officers she had been taking a blanket to one of her pet rats in the trailer.
When they brought the children to the family trailer next door, they found squalid, rotting walls and rodent infestation, and noticed the fridge was padlocked.
The child’s mother Crystal Robertson told officers that she had locked the refrigerator because the children were stealing food and described them as “garbage disposals with legs”.
Police returned with a Bucks County Children and Youth investigator and found four more children hiding in a back bedroom.
There were two dozen rats in cages in the home, along with snakes and dogs.
One of the children was found to have maggots in their hair when it was shaved.