LORAIN — Two children begging neighbors for food led to police and children’s services workers visiting a West 21st Street home Tuesday where they found filthy living conditions.
An anonymous tipster called police because two boys, unbathed and clothed only in shorts, would come to their home asking for food, according to a police report. The older boy told the neighbors he was forced to go to the bathroom outside.
When police investigated the home in the 1300 block of W. 21st Street around 7:30 p.m., they found two adults in a van in the driveway and a male adult on the porch of the home. A small boy came from the backyard.
A “very small female baby” and a “very young male baby” were inside the residence without adult supervision when police arrived.
The male baby was “crawling on the floor unattended amongst some dirty dishes and food that was lying on the sticky carpet,” police said.
The 23-year-old mother was at work and had asked her brother to watch her children, detective Steyven Curry said, adding the mother told police she’d begun renting the house about six weeks earlier.
The mother told police that about a month ago someone broke into the residence and stole the copper piping, which was why there was no working water in the home.
“It was understood between the two (the mother and the landlord),” Curry said. The plumbing had not been fixed, which is why the older children were using the bathroom outside, the mother told police.
“That’s the reason she was looking to leave,” Curry said, adding that police had not yet spoken with the landlord.
Public records indicate the home is owned by Reginald Gray.
The police report indicated the two older boys, ages 3 and 4 years old, are allowed to walk next door while unattended.
Inside, police found a bathroom with a toilet “full of fecal matter and toilet paper as well as some sort of fluid in the tub.”
“All four children appeared unbathed with (the two older boys) wearing shorts and the babies wearing soiled diapers,” the report stated.
The kitchen sink and drains were “clogged with foul water and food and covered with flies,” the report said. The refrigerator was working and did have food but “it too smelled and the quality of the food was questionable,” according to the report.
The mother told police she’d been living at other locations with the children, but they had returned to the West 21st Street home two days prior.
The children’s grandmother, who lives in Cleveland, was called by children’s services and the children were sent to her home pending a home inspection.
“(The mother) was advised that her children at no time could be back at the above residence and if they were found there again she would be arrested,” the report said.
The mother was not arrested because it “would only put a financial burden on the family,” the report said.
Curry said the case will be turned over to the prosecutor’s office to determine whether any charges will be filed.
Contact Alicia Castelli at 329-7144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.