LORAIN – Police said seven young children were found dirty and neglected in a Long Avenue home on Thursday and their mother, who police said was 4-months pregnant and intoxicated, was arrested and charged with seven counts of child endangering.
Police were dispatched to the 1700 block of Long Ave. for a woman with several children who was standing in front of a home screaming at its residents. The woman, Erica Perez, 28, said someone had stolen her phone, and she wanted it back.
The residents of the home told police that no one had stolen Perez’s phone and that the woman had been drinking all day and is “always drunk.” Residents said Perez sits on her porch all day and has numerous visitors who drink with her.
Police continued their investigation at Perez’s Long Avenue home to find seven children, ages one to nine, covered in filth and visibly neglected.
According to a police report, the one-year-old had reportedly had a seizure earlier that day, but Perez said the child often suffers from seizures and he was OK and did not need an ambulance. The other children in the home said the boy often has seizures, and Perez only calls the ambulance once a week. They said the boy would stop breathing and turn blue each time he has a seizure.
According to the report, Perez’s home “smelled of urine and garbage,” and “there were numerous flies flying all over the room.” Police also found an empty liquor bottle in the kitchen, along with a few beers.
Officer A.J. Mathewson wrote in a police report, “In my almost 13 years as a police officer, I have never observed such a filthy, disgusting, unsafe, unhealthy environment where children were being housed. The condition of the residence and children was disturbing.”
Police said a single mattress was found upstairs, about the size of a small crib mattress. One of the children told police that three or four children slept on the mattress.
LifeCare was called to check on the welfare of the children. One of the medics told police she had contacted Lorain County Children Services about the residence before.
Police attempted to arrest Perez when she tried to pull away from officers. According to the report, she then urinated on herself before she was placed in the police cruiser.
Perez’s sisters temporarily took the children while Children’s Services investigated the matter. Perez’s sister, Monica, said Children Services had already become involved, and said she thought custody was granted to her mother who lives in Florida.
The youngest child was transferred to Mercy Regional Medical Center due to his seizure. Emergency room staff said the boy’s diaper had not been changed in at least four days, and he was covered in feces, peanut butter and dirt. The boy was cared for and discharged from the hospital.
Perez was transferred to Lorain County Jail and charged with seven counts of child endangering, one count each of disorderly conduct persisting, disorderly conduct by intoxication, obstructing official business and resisting arrest.