Joseph Smith and pregnant mom Anna Riffle, of Masontown, West Virginia, were the parental guardians of four children, all girls, ranging in ages from 14 months to 17 years, not including the new one on the way. But not anymore — not after police last Friday executed a search warrant on Riffle and Smith’s home and found not only evidence of drugs, including cocaine, but living conditions for the four kids that police described as “atrocious.”
In fact, the conditions in the home in Masontown were so stomach-turning that not only were both Smith, 48, and Riffle, 32, charged with felony child neglect — they were also slapped with misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals for the way they treated their three dogs, two of whom were locked in a squalid, feces-filled basement, and the third in an upstairs bathroom.
The children, according to police who searched the home and later filed documents in court reporting what they uncovered, lived in a home where “a very strong odor of urine, feces and ammonia” permeated the place.
Dog feces and urine smeared the floor throughout the home, and hundreds of insects — mostly flies and gnats — infested the place.
The house was without any real food to feed the children. But Riffle was found to be 7 months pregnant. Police searched the home in response to complaints from neighbors and witnesses that, among other offenses, Riffle was seen consuming alcohol on a daily basis, despite being pregnant.
Indeed, according to the police records, the pregnant mom confessed not only to drinking beer throughout her term, but also smoking cigarettes and downing the highly caffeinated beverage Red Bull almost every day of her pregnancy.
She paid no attention to the 14-month-old infant living in the home, leaving the 9-year-old girl to care for the baby, which police said they witnessed for themselves during their search of the home.
But the two little girls were clad in garments soaked through with urine, and their hair was badly matted.
Moldy food and other refuse was also littered through the house, especially in the basement where the dogs were kept, and which was the area described by police as the most appalling in the place. Neighbors reported that none of the dogs were ever taken outside.
Police found that they animals were left to defecate on the floor, and the mess was not cleaned up.
Perhaps not surprisingly, police also found drug residue and paraphernalia, including a tube used for snorting cocaine, with traces of the drug still inside.
The mortifying case is just the latest in a spate of recent cases involving parents or adult guardians who force children to live in squalor. Just last week, not one but two Indiana couples were arrested on similar charges — read those Inquisitr stories here and here — as was another Indiana couple a month earlier, in a story available here.
Child Protective Services took custody of the children, while the local dog warden removed the animals and took them for a veterinary checkup. Smith is being held on $41,000 bail. Riffle was not, as of Tuesday, behind bars.
[Images: Masontown Police Department]