A Pennsylvania couple has been charged with multiple counts of endangering the welfare of children after investigators found the family living in “horrid” conditions.
Although Dana Elizabeth Ann Rause, 31, and Richard Kevin Rause Jr, 38, face the same six charges, the mother was given a bail five times that of her husband, at $250,000, the Times Leader reported.
In the affidavit, investigators said they found “the most deplorable conditions we’ve seen” in 22 years experience.
Wilkes-Barre Township police were called to the scene to investigate a man sleeping in a car in the driveway. When they arrived, they learned it was Dana Rause who called and her husband who was sleeping in the car. They were separated, she explained, and she wanted him to leave.
According to the criminal complaint, investigators had responded to several domestic disturbances at the house and that Richard Rause had a legal right to be at the home. The husband then asked the officers to check on the six children who lived in the house because his wife wouldn’t let him in to see them and he was certain they were living in horrible conditions.
Officers entered the home to an “extremely foul” odor and saw large amounts of trash strewn about the living room. They found the six children, between the ages of 2 and 11, living in “deplorable” and “horrid” conditions. According to the affidavit, soiled clothing and rotted food were all over the house as well as human feces — some of it smeared on walls.
The 2-year-old was found with feces on his face and chest, WNEP said. The affidavit said the home’s only heat source — a space heater — was found on a mattress next to that child, the Times Leader said.
Dana Rause told investigators that the pipes in the home had burst and that her husband had never fixed them. She said she used water bottles and a wash cloth to bathe the children and used diapers as toilet facilities since the plumbing was not functioning.
Officers obtained a search warrant and found live wires hanging from the ceiling, black mold growing in several spots, dead bugs and rotted food in the refrigerator, and rotting floorboards that had caused the kitchen floor to cave in.
The Rauses are expected in court for a preliminary hearing on March 2.
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