Agents observed “poor living conditions” and a padlocked refrigerator.
Pennsylvania police arrested two parents after finding their seven children in what authorities described as “unsanitary” and “unsafe” living conditions, including caged rats and feces on the floor of their home.
According to a police affidavit filed May 19, officers responded on April 23 to a tip that three children had entered an abandoned trailer in West Rockhill Township, about 40 miles north of Philadelphia.
When police found the children, they spoke to the parents and returned the abandoned caravan to their home next door.
There, agents observed “deplorable living conditions” and a padlocked refrigerator.
The mother, Crystal Robertson, told police she had to lock the refrigerator because the children were “stealing everything” and referring to the children as ‘scavengers with their feet.’
When officers later returned to the home after filing a report with Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services, they found four more children inside.
According to the affidavit, there were approximately two dozen rats in cages in one room. Feces were found on the floor in another part of the house.
“There was a foul smell … and there were various bugs,” the affidavit said. “Two dogs, two turtles, two rabbits, snakes, toads and four-footed reptiles” were also in the house, the affidavit said.
The children were taken into protective custody and taken to a hospital for medical treatment.
On further investigation, officials said none of the seven children had attended school and lacked basic knowledge. According to the police, they also expressed social anxiety.
Officials noted that medical evaluations concluded that the children were “clinically underweight and malnourished.”
The father, Shane William Robertson, and the mother were each charged with seven counts of endangering the welfare of children. Both posted the required 10% of the $10,000 bail, according to police.
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