Children found in squalor

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An Augusta couple found living in a filthy apartment with their two small children were arrested on child-deprivation charges, police said.

Robert and Katrina Cole, both of the 2500 block of Yorkshire Drive, off Berckmans Road, face one count each of contributing to the deprivation of a minor, a misdemeanor, according to a Richmond County sheriff's report.

Police accompanied ambulance personnel to the home in Brookside West Apartments about 12:20 a.m. Sunday after they received a report of a deceased person.

Plastic bottles and cans about two feet deep lined the floor of a bedroom where the body of Robert Cole Sr., 51, was found. Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten said Mr. Cole had been dead -- from natural causes -- for about 12 hours before authorities received the call from the couple.

The condition of the apartment was not a direct factor in his death, but it might have played some part, Mr. Tuten said.

"He could have not have possibly been receiving good hygienic care, but I can't say for sure it was a contributor," he said.

Authorities found bags of trash and rotten food covering parts of the kitchen. There were no dressers to contain clean clothing for the couple's two children, and the cabinets were bare except for some leftover fast food stacked in the refrigerator, the report said.

"Upon arrival Officer found the kitchen area was stacked with bags of trash overrunning into the floor," sheriff's Deputies Robert Bryant and Davion Hart said in their report. "Rotten food items were also on the counter tops and floor."

Upstairs, police found the couple's 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter lying on a mattress on the floor with no bedsheets, the report said.

A representative from the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services was called to photograph the scene.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (38) Add comment
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namaste
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namaste 04/08/08 - 02:04 am
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Omg...those poor babies. With

Omg...those poor babies. With programs such as ACTS and all- there is no reason for this type of living for anyone, except pure laziness. Thank God those young-uns have a chance now. This crap breaks my heart.

The_Question
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The_Question 04/08/08 - 03:30 am
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The question is......Did they

The question is......Did they clean up when they knew they were having company?

sliique
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sliique 04/08/08 - 04:45 am
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Crackheads, NO doubt!

Crackheads, NO doubt!

justus4
101
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justus4 04/08/08 - 05:23 am
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Very sad story, but no one
Unpublished

Very sad story, but no one really cares...another day at the office. The eroision continues...

WHATDIDIDO
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WHATDIDIDO 04/08/08 - 06:07 am
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How long had these children

How long had these children been living this way? Where were the family and so called friends? Such disrespect for human life.

Ole School
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Ole School 04/08/08 - 06:33 am
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put them in a CELL, and make

put them in a CELL, and make them keep it clean !!!

saltine
281
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saltine 04/08/08 - 06:39 am
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It's called a "standard of

It's called a "standard of living" and it's every where. Some one knew about this ,and didn't want to get involved.Bad judgment, having no morals and concern for only themselves is what our nation of children this age ,has come to.Parents be ware.These people are our future.

EdithPiaf
2
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EdithPiaf 04/08/08 - 06:53 am
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Where did they work? I wonder

Where did they work? I wonder what was wrong with them. You'd have to have some type of mental disorder to live like that. Don't jump to conclusions with sentencing them to "put them in a cell and make them keep it clean!" and don't judge them by calling them crack heads. Just thank God for the intervention and saving the children from that situation. How in the world can someone be in the house with a dead body for so long without calling an ambulance???

UncleBill
6
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UncleBill 04/08/08 - 07:30 am
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Check for drugs.

Check for drugs.

mover5
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mover5 04/08/08 - 07:39 am
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I work for a company that

I work for a company that goes into houses everyday and you would be surprised how many professionals (medical people too) live in filth.

pursesshoes all day
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pursesshoes all day 04/08/08 - 07:41 am
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that six year old had to be

that six year old had to be in the first grade, so some one saw this child outside of home, i wonder he was dressed, grommed, smelled. did no one notice anything? this is crap no child should live like that ! i mean dang, even the blind keep a clean house. again i am appauled at the things that go on regarding children in this world

truetolife
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truetolife 04/08/08 - 08:07 am
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These poor children, I hope

These poor children, I hope that these adults will be put in jail. I hope somone would take these children in and show them what love is. GOD bless them.

karmakills123
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karmakills123 04/08/08 - 08:07 am
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It true mover5...I KNOW

It true mover5...I KNOW professional people who have children and their houses are fine on the outside but if you go in(they always make excuses about anyone going inside) its a nightmare.....and the children look fine when they go to school...its just in the home that the dirty secret remains.

christian134
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christian134 04/08/08 - 08:13 am
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What I am having a hard time

What I am having a hard time digesting is the fact that a dead body lay in that apartment for 12 hours before someone called the police....The so-called parents need to be arrested for child abuse and slammed away for a few years. These children have been exposed to filth, probably drugs and alcohol, and God only knows what other horrors....A Dead Body...My word....And just when I believe I have heard it all....:-(

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 04/08/08 - 08:16 am
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Sorry parents to allow those

Sorry parents to allow those kids to live in such filth, no matter how poor you may be there is no excuse for just being filthy. It doesn't take money to throw out trash or clean up.......I hope the children can be placed in good homes.

Does_it_really_matter
1
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Does_it_really_matter 04/08/08 - 08:34 am
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Soap is cheap...and it sounds

Soap is cheap...and it sounds as though someone was just too lazy to make the trip to the dumpster.....but not too lazy enough to get some fast food. You just never know what happens behind close door....

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 04/08/08 - 08:40 am
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justus4. Is it really that

justus4. Is it really that nobody cares? Or is it justU that doesn't care?

WW1949
19
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WW1949 04/08/08 - 08:43 am
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I also work for a company

I also work for a company that goes inside house. I have been in some that I had to stay outside while giving the estimate because they were so nasty and smelled so bad. Saturday in Waynesbor was one of those days. Trash all over the house, bathroom really dirty, kitchen table stickey and dogs all over everything inside and out. Dirty clothes everywhere and carpet so dirty that it stuck to her feet. The lady was not there and her husband had the gall to tell me she was really pickey about the work we were going to do. You think?

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 04/08/08 - 08:47 am
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I remember a story from New

I remember a story from New York from over a decade ago, a two career professional power couple (high income) with a penchant for being pack rats were living in a filthy apartment with their children. They were in a power struggle over chores and both had "dug in". She was angry because he wouldn't help with household work despite the fact she was bringing in more money than he was. He thought household work was beneath his dignity. Neither wanted outside help, probably because the mess got out of control and was past the embarrassment level. Neither would back down and pitch in, so it got worse and worse. So they ended up thoroughly embarrassed when they were "found out" and it made national news. When households get this messed up, there is a financial and/or emotional crisis of some sort going on, and their lives are out of balance. I guess that is what why a euphemism for the mentally ill, is unbalanced.

MIZ UNDERSTOOD
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MIZ UNDERSTOOD 04/08/08 - 08:56 am
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My question is, it took 12

My question is, it took 12 hrs before they called the cops to say he was dead, why not clean up in the mean time?? You knew the cops were coming, you waited 12 hrs, there was plenty enough time for them to take out the trash. But those poor kids, and they live in a good neighborhood. Those apartments are not cheap, its a middle class type environment, directly behind the masters. I dont know what these people were thinking.

Honden
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Honden 04/08/08 - 09:05 am
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I have to agree with justus

I have to agree with justus in that it's "another day at the office" and "no one really cares" I'll start to believe the courts care when the court system makes it a crime for an ex wife to keep a filthy house. Until then..."the erosion continues"

So tell me...
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So tell me... 04/08/08 - 09:07 am
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You guys have no idea how

You guys have no idea how many households are kept in this demeanor... I am fortunate that I have never had to enter such a home, but I have co-workers that do on a daily basis. Stepping in dog feces in the living room, etc... I see pictures all the time and have to hold back vomitting!

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 04/08/08 - 09:20 am
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I care. And it's never just

I care. And it's never just another day at the office for me.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 04/08/08 - 09:27 am
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There are a lot of ex-spouses

There are a lot of ex-spouses out there that keep filthy houses. That's one of the reasons why the other spouse gets custody of the kids. Honden, if your ex-spouse has custody of the child or children and keeps a filthy house that might endanger the children, there should be some way to report that. Someone on here probably knows what to do and can tell you. If I were in that situation I would go straight to my lawyer. But I have custody of all my children and am the one with the clean house, so that issue hasn't come up for me. His house is moldy, and in a crime-infested neighborhood, which are two of the reasons our children have the good sense to not want to visit it. They don't mind feeding the pets, or helping him with outdoor chores, (backyard preferable to front because of the problem with vulgarity spewing neighbors) or doing the "Disney Land Dad" stuff, but that's about it.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 04/08/08 - 09:44 am
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Honden, could you expound on

Honden, could you expound on "the erosion continues...." I'm not quite getting the reference. And again, is there anybody out there that can direct Honden where he can go for help regarding an ex-spouse keeping a filthy house if their children are living in unsanitary conditions? Rose? Angie? anybody?

betterme706
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betterme706 04/08/08 - 10:24 am
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they didn't say the kids

they didn't say the kids weren't taken care of if it was as bad as the storie is making it sound don't u think it would be a felony charge then? Don't get me wrong I do not know these people but I don't think there poor just average but it sounds like they would grab meal by meal from a resturant and the guy dead for 12 hrs they said he was in the room.....when a grown man is in his room he could of been sleeping they might of thought or maybe they leftin the morning and then came home and didn't look in the room right away. And as far as saying there crackheads......if they have a home they keep there homes clean the drugs keep them energy. I could be wrong but remember sometimes stories are bigger then what the eye sees but maybe they will show pictures

HippieChick
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HippieChick 04/08/08 - 10:33 am
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White Trash!

White Trash!

Connie30813
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Connie30813 04/08/08 - 10:37 am
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Even if these people were

Even if these people were considered "poor" or on assistance, there is no excuse for the filth these children were subjected to. Being poor is no excuse for being nasty. A child (especially the age of these children) have no control over a situation such as this. The parents have the responsibility to properly (by law) provide food, shelter, clothing, and give the children the basic necessities they need. This was NOT provided to these innocent children based on what I have seen and read. And to know that there were people who HAD to know this was the condition the children were in and not say one word. The problem comes because nobody wants to get involved anymore. I can understand that to a certain extent. If it was just the adults, so be it, they can live in filth and rotten food all you want. But when you have small innocent children who have no control over the environment they are in, then someone HAS to get involved. In cases such as this and in abusive type situations, as responsible adults and caring citizens, someone MUST get involved. It can be reported as an "anonymous call". Even if it turns out there is nothing to it, at least one more child will be protected & safe.

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 04/08/08 - 11:57 am
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I have to agree with

I have to agree with "betterme706" on some points. It said there were no dressers to contain clean clothes for the kids....it didn't say there were no clean clothes just that there were no dresser to hold the clothes. And the call came in at midnight, it's possible the couple did not know that the man had passed. It appears maybe he had some heath issues because the report said "He could have not have possibly been receiving good hygienic care". Makes me believe that he was bedridden. This is disturbing to think that these two young children lived in such unsanitary conditions but it's more common than we think. Some people live the way they were raised and although we can say they were adults and should have known better, they don't see the problem.

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 04/08/08 - 11:59 am
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Instead of saying they should

Instead of saying they should be put in jail, why not teach them some housekeeping skills, parenting classes and give the family a chance to clean up their act and keep the family together instead of always saying "put them in jail". What good would that do?

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