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February 4, 2015 at 12:01 PM

Police describe squalor, stench at Lake Stevens home where 3 young children left alone

Update at 1:55 p.m.: A judge in Snohomish County on Wednesday afternoon set bail at $100,000 each for the parents of the three children allegedly left alone in a squalid Lake Stevens home.

Original post: The stench of feces, human and cat urine and rotting food was overwhelming to police who responded Saturday to the Lake Stevens home where three abandoned children were found in squalid conditions, according to a newly released court document.

One officer said the smell was so strong it caused his eyes to water.

“I exited the door to the backyard to catch my breath and compose myself before reentering the house,” the officer wrote in the affidavit for probable cause that outlines the police case.

Inside, the home was dirty and in “extreme disarray,” filled with dirty diapers, excrement, food wrappers, broken toys, dirty clothes and garbage, police wrote in the affidavit. The walls were covered by children’s drawings, the kitchen was blocked by a clothes dryer and some areas were so filled with bags that there was only a small path through the room, the affidavit says.

The parents of three children who were found padlocked alone inside the Lake Stevens home are scheduled to appear before a Snohomish County judge Wednesday afternoon. The couple, both 32-year-old convicted felons, were arrested Tuesday on investigation of multiple felony counts of criminal mistreatment and abandonment of a dependent, according to the affidavit.

The couple’s children — ages 7 and 3 years and 10 months — were taken into custody by Child Protective Services (CPS) on Saturday after they were found by police locked in the home with no heat and very little food, according to the affidavit.

The two older children were first seen huddling and hiding under a blanket on a couch together, the affidavit says. The 7-year-old girl had to be coaxed into opening the door and repeatedly told police that her parents were upstairs sleeping, the court document says.

When police went upstairs they found no adults. The baby was found locked in an upstairs room that was separate and unreachable by his siblings, the affidavit said.

Police described the baby as being barely responsive to touch. He had a core body temperature of 94 degrees and was undernourished and dehydrated, police said.

Police were called to 11th Place Southeast home on Saturday by a woman who went to the house several times during the week to look for the children’s father. She told police she had paid him for car repairs that he never performed, according to the affidavit.

The woman told police that each time she went to the home, she spoke with the 7-year-old girl, who always explained that her parents were sleeping. The woman became concerned about the children’s welfare and called police.

Police said the parents, who did not at any time return to the home or try to check on their children’s welfare, were arrested on Tuesday.

According to the affidavit, the 7-year-old’s school had called CPS to report concerns because the girl had extensive absences and always smelled strongly of urine.

The Seattle Times is not naming the parents because they have not yet been charged.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: child abandonment, Child protective services, criminal mistreatment

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