John Paul and Danielle Woolley, both 31-years-old, were arrested this week in what police in Indiana call one of the worst cases of child neglect they’ve ever seen. The situation inside their house of horrors on Vine Street in Clinton, Indiana, was so bad that neighbors on the street say they were not even aware that children lived inside the home.
But, in fact, four children lived there, along with their parents, the Woolleys, and their grandparents, Gordon Woolley, 57, and Barbara Jo Woolley, 52. Another child of the elder Woolley couple, a 29-year-old special needs male, also resided there, according to investigators who were first alerted to the repulsive and uninhabitable conditions there back on October 19.
That’s when they showed up and pulled the four children — three boys and one girl, ranging in age from 2- to 8-years-old — out of the home. Investigators said that before they were removed from the dismal house, none of the four had been outside in more than a full year, according to a report on WTHI-TV News.
“Investigators found the home appeared generally dirty, disheveled, windows covered or boarded, and what appeared to be human and animal feces spread about,” Clinton police said in a statement Friday, reported by The Elkhart Truth newspaper.
They also said that they found raw sewage exposed inside the home, which the Wooley family had been renting for about the past two years, according to reports.
John Paul and Danielle Woolley confessed to police that they kept their 8-year-old, thought to be suffering from autism, in a locked room, allowing the child out only once every hour or so.
None of the kids, authorities believe, received medical care or any kind of education. They appeared malnourished and filthy when police found them inside the house, acting on an anonymous tip that had been relayed to the state’s Child Protective Services department.
“I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 10 years,” said one neighbor, speaking to WTHI-TV News, and who requested that the station withhold her name. “I never really talked to the people. They kept to themselves, and were not very friendly people. Had no clue there were children inside the house. There were never any toys or kids playing in the yard. If I had a clue it would have been called on a long-time ago.”
The neighbor called the home where the Woolleys resided “a disgrace to the neighborhood,” adding that the reclusive family was not typical of Vine Street, which was generally a friendly and quiet place. The boarded windows in the home and prominently displayed “No Trespassing” sign set the home apart from other houses on the street.
In addition to taking the children out of the home, the Parke-Vermillion Humane Society also took what they said were “numerous” cats out of the horrifying house.
“Makes you wonder how people can live the way they live. It really opens your eyes to the things that are happening,” said Clinton Police Chief, Billy MaClaren. “It’s very heartbreaking the fact that there are programs out there to help families keep their kids so they don’t have to live like this.”
After they were treated at a nearby hospital, the four children were released into foster care. John Paul and Danielle Woolley have been ordered to maintain no contact whatsoever with their children, with the same order applying to the grandparents.
The 29-year-old special needs adult has also been placed in the care of the state.
John Paul and Danielle Woolley, and Gordon and Barbara Jo Woolley were all hit with felony neglect “resulting in serious bodily injury” charges, with each facing up to 16 years in prison.
[Featured Photo By Vermillion County Jail]