Seven children were removed from a home in Pennsylvania and their parents were arrested after police allegedly discovered them malnourished and living in a home in deplorable condition.
Officers with the Pennridge Regional Police Department responded to the 600 block of Roseann Lane on the afternoon of Apr. 23 for a report of two minors entering an abandoned trailer, according to a police report filed on May 19. Police found two girls, 12 and 14, who appeared unkempt and lived in a trailer next door.
Out of concern for the girls, the officers requested from their parents, Shawn and Crystal Robertson, to see their living arrangements.
The home was “in obvious disrepair and disarray,” the report says. There was also a bicycle lock on the fridge at the home that Crystal said was because they had little food and referred to the children as “garbage disposals with legs.”
Police also found another child, a 16-year-old girl, at the residence. Bucks County Children and Youth responded to the home to investigate.
Upon further investigation, an additional four children were found hidden in a back room — girls aged 4, 8 and 10 as well as one boy aged 6. Shawn told officers he didn’t tell them about the other children earlier because “he did not want to get in any trouble,” according to the report.
Investigators found unsanitary living conditions at the home, including a bad odor, several bugs, two dozen rats in cages, as well as feces on the floor and on a blanket. Many parts of the home appeared to not have been cleaned in a long period of time, and the bathroom, kitchen, floors and walls needed repair.
Also found at the home were “two dogs, two turtles, two rabbits, snakes, toads, and a four-foot reptile known as a Tegu,” the report states.
The Robertsons were arrested and charged with seven counts of endangering the welfare of a child. All seven children were sent to a hospital to be examined and placed in foster care.
All, except for one child, were found to be clinically malnourished, two children tested positive for Covid-19, two had low kidney function, and three had fevers and were diagnosed with Acute Viral Syndrome, according to the report.
Two of the children needed extensive dental treatments, two needed corrective eye care and two needed to shave most of their hair off due to severe matting.
It was also discovered that the children had no formal education and struggled with reading, writing and spelling, according to the report.
“They all exhibited social anxiety and disclosed that they did not like being in public or around other people,” the report states.
Shawn and Crystal Robertson both posted 10% of $10,000 bail, according to police. It’s not clear at this time if they have legal representation.