Andrew and Kimberly Powell, the mom and dad of three kids ranging in age from 2 to 6, are denying the Franklin County, Kentucky, sheriff’s charges against them — charges that were affirmed by a grand jury indictment this week — that have landed both of them behind bars in a child abuse case that the lawman called one of the most “deplorable” he’s ever uncovered, according to a report by WKYT TV in Kentucky.
“Just very, very deplorable conditions, with feces and urine— from humans,not animals, from humans. So, tough case,” said an emotional Sheriff Pat Melton.
Franklin Co. Sheriff Pat Melton: Kimberly and Andrew Powell indicted on criminal abuse charges. pic.twitter.com/jT5PJrlK9i
— Matthew Rand (@WLKYMatthew) August 30, 2016
But both Andrew and Kimberly Powell entered not guilty pleas at their arraignments on Friday, and relatives of the 25-year-old dad say that he doesn’t even live in the home with the kids and their mom, adding that the 26-year-old Kimberly has a difficult time with three kids, but has not abused them, according to statements in a WLKY TV News report.
Melton said that the children, ages 2, 4, and 6, had not been taken to a doctor for a checkup or medical attention in years — among the numerous other acts of neglect and abuse alleged in the charges against Andrew and Kimberly Powell.
The following video news report from WLKY TV contains further details on the horrifying child abuse case.
But according to a report in the Frankfort State Journal newspaper, the case came to light on July 15 when the 6-year-old girl was taken to a doctor for pre-school immunizations.
That’s when the doctor contacted the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services, saying that the little girl was in such an unhygienic state that dirt was literally flaking off of her body onto the floor of the doctor’s office.
Perhaps even more shocking, the 6-year-old was unable to speak more than a small number of words.
CHFS workers spent the next week attempting to get in touch with the Powell couple, leaving a note on the door of their trailer home in Frankfort’s Capital Mobile Home Park, and even sending a certified letter. They finally heard from Kimberly Powell on July 22, and the child health workers immediately paid a visit to the trailer home.
What they say they found there was heartbreaking — and sickening.
“The children were found to be living in the residence with the windows covered in black plastic so that they could not let any light into the residence,” Melton described. “The children were routinely locked in a bedroom alone, with the room locked by a shoestring tied around the doorknob and tied to a screw on the door frame.”
In fact, according to the CHFS workers cited in the newspaper’s report, a disgusting stench hung over the darkened trailer, and crawling bugs covered the walls and counter space. The two year old was asleep, but the four-year-old was unable to speak in any coherent way and was still in a diaper.
The 6-year-old girl was curled on a bed rocking back and forth with her knees tucked against her chest.
There was almost no food in the house and the kids appeared underfed and malnourished — even though Kimberly Powell was receiving $640 per month in supplemental nutrition assistance, also known as food stamps.
The CHFS workers gave Powell specific instructions for correcting the disturbing conditions, but when they returned on August 15, things had only become worse. The 4-year-old had feces on her hands and a build up of dried feces under her fingernails. The 2-year-old’s diaper was loaded with urine and feces — clearly not having been changed for days or even longer.
Kimberly and Andrew Powell both charged with criminal abuse 1st degree, held on $25,000 full cash bond each. pic.twitter.com/bkUmPgzzFz
— Matthew Rand (@WLKYMatthew) August 30, 2016
The 6-year-old, doctors later determined, weighed between 35 and 36 pounds. The 4-year-old had blackened, rotting teeth — a symptom of malnutrition — and, in addition to possessing no verbal communication abilities, had only recently learned to walk.
As the state went to court to get custody of the children, they were unfortunately sent back to the Powell trailer where in August 25, another inspection found that the conditions were just as horrifying as before, according to the State Journal report. The 6-year-old at that time was able to explain that food had been brought to the home but their mother forbade them from eating it because “mommy trades it.”
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But relatives of Andrew Powell say that the reports are grossly exaggerated.
“I know my brother very well,” wrote Justin Hendricks, who told the State Journal that he is Powell’s sibling. “He is not this person the media and this clueless Sheriff’s Department and Child Services are making him out to be. He doesn’t live in that home and receives mail here in Scott County. He couldn’t tell you what’s going on at that home when he is not there. I myself have been to that home a lot and never once was those kids locked in a room, not fed, not clean, much less feces or anything like that around.”
Hendricks also told the paper that the house was “full of food” and that the charges may be the result of an unspecified grudge held by a social worker against Andrew and Kimberly Powell.
[Images via Franklin County Sheriff’s Office]