October 30, 2014

Elyria
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41°F
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Lorain children returned to clean home

LORAIN — Lorain County Children Services has closed its case file on a Lorain couple accused of allowing their children to live in a filthy house littered with animal waste.

The agency informed Tammie Kerns and Wilbur Kerns Jr. of the decision in a letter dated Thursday. The letter noted that the house had been cleaned up and repairs sought by caseworkers had been completed.

The house has “been restored to a safe environment where your children can reside safely,” the letter said.

The couple’s 8-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter were removed from the family’s home on Lexington Avenue on April 17 after police checking on the welfare of the numerous animals at the house reported the filthy conditions.

A police report said the house smelled strongly of animal feces, which was on the floor of the house. Officers also reported that the children were wearing dirty clothes and there was rotting food and dirty dishes in the house. Tammie Kerns told police that she didn’t want officers to come inside because her house wasn’t clean.

The arrest of the Kernses came nearly a month after Children Services casework Milagros Marrero visited the home and told the couple to clean up the house. When contacted by police, Marrero told police the conditions inside the home were as bad, if not worse, than when she had been there on March 20.

Marrero was reprimanded for her handling of the case and another caseworker was assigned to complete the agency’s investigation.

Stourton Scott Smith, the couple’s attorney, said the Kernses have gotten rid of the dogs, cats and birds that were creating the animal waste in the house.

“We’re pleased that the investigation has been closed,” he said. “My clients are very grateful the children are back in the home.”

The couple still faces misdemeanor child endangering charges in Lorain Municipal Court.

A hearing set for Thursday was continued until next month so prosecutors can review Children Services’ decision to close its case.

A call to Children Services was not returned Thursday. The Kernses declined to comment.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.