Kentucky police responding to a neighbor’s complaint found 19 children living in squalor in a sweltering home with no parental supervision.
The children, who ranged in age from 8 months to 14 years, were alone in the Bowling Green home for a week after their parents left to attend to a family emergency, MSNBC reported. The small three-bedroom rental home had no food or working air conditioning and was filled with dog feces that reached one inch thick in one room, authorities said. Temperatures reached 101 degrees in the area this week, and police said when the entered the home it was a steamy 90 degrees.
Kentucky police have charged Jackie Farah, the biological mother of some of the children, with 14 counts of criminal abuse and five counts of wanton endangerment after she returned from Chicago. She and Irving Smith, father of some of the children, left for Michigan on June 27 to attend to a family emergency and had asked neighbors to check on the children. Police are still looking for Smith.
Officers said the children didn’t seem to be surprised to be home by themselves and acted as if it happened all the time. Police added that the neighbors likely didn’t realize just how many children were in the home, and tipped off police when they saw the children scrounging for food.
“They had went to neighbors’ residences at different times begging for food,” Warren County Sheriff’s Detective Tim Robinson told the Associated Press.
The children were treated at a local hospital before Kentucky police placed into protective custody, the Associated Press reported. Animal control officers also removed nine dogs and one cat were living at the residence.