Washington parents locked their three young children in a filthy house without food or heat, Lake Stevens police claim. Mark Dorson and Amanda Foley were arrested earlier this week after law enforcement officers rescued the three children, who are currently being treated for dehydration and hypothermia at a local hospital.
The children locked inside the home deemed filthy and unlivable by the Lake Stevens, Washington, police officers included a 7-year-old girl, a 3-year-old boy, and an 11-month-old baby boy. One of the siblings was locked inside a bedroom alone and was not reportedly reachable by his siblings.
Amanda Foley and Mark Dorson face felony charges of child abandonment and criminal mistreatment of a child. The Washington parents are currently being held in a Lake Stevens area jail in Snohomish County on $100,000 bond. The stench inside the home was reportedly so overwhelming that the first responders had to wear respirator masks while conducting their investigation. A building inspector has since condemned the home.
The children were found living in the reportedly deplorable conditions after a female debt collector went to the Lake Stevens home to attempt to garner payment on a bill owed by Dorson and Foley. When the woman found the 7-year-old girl and the 3-year-old boy left alone in the lower floor of the home, she immediately called the police. There was running water in the home, but housing inspectors also reportedly found mold and water damage, disabled smoke alarms, exposed wires, and uncovered light fixtures.
When Washington law enforcement officers arrived on the scene, they found the little girl and the little boy huddled together on a couch beneath a blanket attempting to keep warm inside the unheated home. The children were surrounded by mounds of trash and animal feces, according to the Lake Stevens police report.
“The condition of the home looked like it was being torn down, with drywall missing, insulation missing, water coming through the ceiling. There was only an empty snack-size potato chip bag and empty Pringles can. There was no sign of any food, no empty wrappers, no empty cans, certainly no food in the home,” Lakes Stevens Police Commander Dennis Taylor told local news affiliate KOMO.
When the police officers were finally able to convince the cold, hungry, and frightened little girl to open the door to the home, she told them that her parents were upstairs sleeping. While searching for the parents, the officers found the 11-month-old baby locked in a bedroom.
All three of the children belonging to Mark Dorson and Amanda Foley were malnourished and suffering from exposure, the police report adds. The baby boy was reportedly suffering from the most health issues. The baby was rushed to a local hospital, and staffers immediately began treating him for dehydration and hypothermia.
The infant was reportedly unable to move his extremities and had a body temperature of just 94 degrees. The older siblings were also treated for similar conditions and then released from the hospital into foster care.
“If it weren’t for the person who was owed money; if it weren’t for their insight to call us, we’d be dealing with a much more tragic situation. It’s 40 degrees inside the home because there’s no heat; no insulation. It’s very possible the one child could have perished from hypothermia,” Lake Stevens Police Commander Taylor added.
Police officers do not know how long the three children were left in the dirty home without heat or food by their parents. Mark Dorson and Amanda Foley were 30 miles from home when they were tracked down on Tuesday, after calling the police station to inquire about the whereabouts of their children. The children were removed from the home on Saturday afternoon.
Mark Dorson was reportedly sentenced to prison in 2002 for shooting and wounding a man. Amanda Foley “graduated” from drug court in 2009 but was later convicted of stealing a vehicle. The Washington parents reportedly claim the child abandonment issues are nothing more than a big misunderstanding.
The three children abandoned in the filthy home without food or heat by their Washington parents are expected to recover from their health issues.
[Images via: Twitter and KIRO-TV/The Herald/Mark Mulligan]