WEST ROCKHILL TWP., Pennsylvania — Two parents in Bucks County, Pennsylvania have been charged with multiple felonies after their seven children were found living in deplorable conditions.
47-year-old Shane Robertson and 37-year-old Crystal Robertson, of West Rockhill Township, are charged with seven counts of endangering the welfare of children.
The children involved range in age from 16 to just four years old.
The investigation began with a report of children entering an abandoned trailer on April 23 in the Green Top Trailer Park, the Pennridge Regional Police Department said in a news release Thursday.
Police found a 12-year-old girl, who told officers she was taking a blanket to keep her rats warm because her family does not have much money left.
While they were talking, a 14-year-old girl appeared from behind the property. Police say neither girl was properly dressed, stating the 14-year-old had clothes on that appeared dirty.
When officers brought the children to their parents, who live in the trailer next door, police say they found ‘deplorable’ living conditions and a refrigerator secured with a padlock.
According to the affidavit, Crystal Robertson told police the lock was there because the children were “stealing” food and called the children “garbage disposals with legs.”
Police later returned with an investigator from Bucks County Children and Youth and found four more children hidden in a rear bedroom.
Officers say they found feces in several places in the home, and some of the walls and floors were in disrepair.
Some two dozen rats were found in cages. Multiple other animals, including dogs and snakes, were also found.
The living conditions were found to be “unsanitary and essentially unsafe,” police said, and the children were taken into protective custody.
A medical evaluation of the children at a hospital found most of them were malnourished, police said, and some of the children had low kidney function.
Two of the children had to have their heads shaved due to severe matting, and one of those children was found to have maggots in her hair.
Two of the children needed to have “extensive” dental treatment, police said, and some of the children needed eyeglasses.
During the investigation, police say it was found that none of the seven children had attended school and lacked basic knowledge. Several of them didn’t know their birthday.
The children exhibited social anxiety, police say, and they allegedly told officials they didn’t like to be in public or around other people.
The Robertsons are free after posting 10% of $100,000 bail.