The cases of parental neglect seem to be getting more frequent in the last few months. In a recent incident authorities in Kentucky were shocked when they found 19 children living in filthy conditions with no parental supervision.
Responding to a welfare complaint filed by neighbors, deputies found children in the age range of 8 months to 14 years living without food or a working air conditioner in a Bowling Green home near Interstate-65. The temperature in the area had reached 101 degrees on Monday and when the authorities reached the home it was 90 degrees inside.
According to Warren County Sheriff’s Detective Tim Robinson the three bedroom house was filled with dog’s feces. They found an inch of feces in one of the rooms. The children had been living in the house alone for a week.
“It’s such an unusual circumstance to find 19 children like that, we’re still putting things together right now,” Robinson said.
Jackie Farah, who is the biological mother of some of the children, had gone to Chicago, was arrested and charged with 14 counts of criminal abuse and five counts of wanton endangerment.
Detective Robinson said Jackie and Irving “Joe” Smith left on June 27th for a family emergency. They asked neighbours to look after the kids while they were gone.
“It looks like a blended family,” Robinson said with some of the children related to Smith and others to Farah.
The couple according to police claims to have had car problems, which caused the week-long absence.
“I do not believe that story. I don’t believe that story because of things that have happened in the past. And the kind of people they are, I just don’t believe that,” said neighbor Annie Adams.
According to her, the police took too long to respond.
“So, I call about these kids and they come out here and they don’t do anything. So what happens? You’re not going to do anything until one of them gets severely hurt or killed,” said Adams. “I just think it’s ridiculous. As a parent, it’s ridiculous.”
She also says that she might move houses because of the family.
“All this conflict in the neighborhood and what’s happening with these people is actually going to force us out of our house and to me that’s not fair,” said Adams.
Robinson says that the neighbors did not have a clear idea of how many kids were in the home. The children sometimes even begged for food from the neighbors.
“They had went to neighbors’ residences at different times begging for food,” he said.
Robinson says that when the cops arrived at the home, the children behaved as if they were used to living alone at home.
It was “not really a surprise to just be hanging out there by themselves,” Robinson told the AP. “While certain children would be frantic — ‘I need my mom’ — this wasn’t happening” with these kids.
The house was also home to nine dogs and one cat apart from the 19 children. The pets have been removed by animal control.
The children were taken to a hospital and treated before being placed in the state protective custody.