An Arizona mom is facing child abuse charges after local authorities discovered the horrific living conditions her children are subjected to. According to the Daily Mail, Jillian Wheeler’s home, which has been described by local news outlets as a “house of horror,” is reportedly “covered in filth.”
Officers with the Glendale Police Department discovered the Arizona mom’s horrific living conditions and alleged abuse when they responded to a call at her home on October 26. It has been reported that the call, made in reference to an alleged burglary, was placed from inside the home by one of the children. However, when officers arrived at the home, they were met with much more than the possibility of a burglary.
According to the police report, the 27-year-old Arizona mom’s home was filled rotting garbage and food all over the kitchen. Throughout the home, each room was filled with trash and covered in human and animal feces in the children’s sleeping areas. In addition to the filth, the home also did not have working toilets. According to Fox 10 Phoenix, Wheeler had five children in her custody at the time of her arrest, four of which were her own biological children.
The children — ranging from ages 3 to 8 — reportedly told detectives that Wheeler had been locking them in their rooms for hours at a time since November of 2014. They also revealed Wheeler had been ignoring their screams and pleas to be let out to use the bathroom.
After hours of suffering, they’d concede and resort to urinating and defecating on the floors in the bedrooms. Even after being let out of the bedrooms, they were never cleaned. Detectives were able to confirm the children’s claims because the deadbolts on the children’s doors were cited on the police report. The way the deadbolts had been installed, the rooms could be locked from the outside.
On October 27, Wheeler was arrested and charged with four counts of felony child abuse. The Arizona mom’s arrest comes as no surprise to some of her neighbors. Tow of her neighbors, Tom Bursak and Manual Ray, gave a brief statement, revealing some of the suspicious activity they’d seen around the home. Both men even reported that they’d seen the children running around nude on the roof of the house.
“Those people over there, they we just weird, just weird,” said Tom Barsuk.
“Very seldom saw them outside, maybe once or twice a month… Us and a couple of the other neighbors had called code compliance on them because it would get pretty bad out there. There would be trash laying in the street and in the driveway.”
“The smallest one running around completely nude… I feel bad for the kids. Terrible for the kids.”
However, Wheeler says otherwise. During an ABC-15 news segment, the Arizona mom defended herself by denying the child abuse claims, insisting her children are “happy and healthy.” She also accused the media of trying to fabricate claims for a story.
” ‘Nothing happened and this is all a lie,’ Wheeler said. ‘Because police want to make money, and the more people they book into jail, the more money they make. They’re just trying to make a story.’ “
The Arizona mom has bonded out of jail, but she is scheduled to appear in court on November 17. Her children are still in the custody of Arizona Department of Child Safety.
[Image via Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office]