Unfit homes found; adults face charges

Six children and a malnourished dog were removed from two homes this week after vile odors led deputies to their doors.

Neighbors had been complaining about the smell and an influx in German cockroaches near Johnston and Joanne Santos’ Brandywine apartment, off Boy Scout Road, when deputies visited about noon Wednesday.

An employee, who tried to perform an annual inspection, said she called police after “roaches fled in all directions” and feces was on the floor, according to a report.

Officer found five children, ages 4 to 13, and two adults living in the home, where it was “immediately clear that living conditions were unfit for humans to be in.”

Police observed human feces on the floor that had been stepped in and tracked throughout the home. Feces also had been spread on the walls, and a small child had made a handprint with it in one area. The home was infested with roach nests on the ceiling and walls, had rotting food on the counters and sink, and the youngest child was found eating moldy food from a trash can.

Police said the apartment had only rotting food in the refrigerator and freezer, but did have running water because the apartment complex provided it. Medication bottles were observed without their tops near children’s reach.

Only the oldest child was in school, and two of the children had never been registered, the report stated.

All children were placed in the custody of their aunt.

Joanne Santos, 34, was charged with five counts of deprivation of a minor. Johnston Santos, 37, was charged with five counts of deprivation but was also charged with a misdemeanor count of obstruction of law enforcement when he continually tried to clean the apartment, against the officer’s request, during a walkthrough.

In another incident, police responded to 700 Lovell Circle in a Rae’s Creek mobile home park Thursday on a request of the property manager, who was concerned for a 3-year-old living in the home.

According to a report, police smelled a strong foul odor when they reached the door. The deputy was invited in by the homeowners, Eric Walters, 37, and Krystle Oyer, 26, but was advised that the house was a mess.

The deputy discovered a large pile of trash that Walters said he could not take away because he didn’t have a truck. The report also said there was a dirt-matted mattress on the living room floor, a sink overflowing with molding dishes, bathroom sinks and toilets full of black water, and black mold in the shower. More trash covered the floor.

Oyer told police she couldn’t wash dishes because the sinks were stopped up. They told the deputy the house had been in that condition since December.

Police discovered a malnourished dog, whose bones showed through his skin, closed in the child’s bedroom with feces covering the floor. The couple said they kept the dog in the room so it wouldn’t be stolen.

The child and dog were removed from the home.

Walters and Oyer were charged with deprivation of a minor. Animal Control is seeking charges of animal cruelty, the report stated.

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