Police authorities in Bowling Green, Ky., say 19 children were left inside a filthy home unsupervised for a week with no food or air-conditioning.
Deputies said the children ranged in age from 8 months to 14 years old and were taken to a nearby medical center Monday before they were released into protective custody, according to ABC News station WBKO.
On Tuesday, Jackie Farah was arrested and charged with 14 counts of criminal abuse and five counts of wanton endangerment, according to WBKO. She is being held without bail. Police are still looking for Irving “Joe” Smith, who they believe is the children’s father.
Warren County Sheriff’s Detective Tim Robinson said Farah is believed to be the mother of at least some of the children in what looks like a blended family, according to the Associated Press.
Warren said Smith and Farah told a neighbor last week that they had a family emergency in Michigan and asked the neighbor to check on the kids, according to the AP.
The couple told police that they had car problems, which caused the week-long absence.
“I do not believe that story. I don’t believe that story because of things that have happened in the past. And the kind of people they are, I just don’t believe that,” said neighbor Annie Adams, who spoke to WBKO.
Adams initially reported the home situation two weeks ago to police. At that time only 10 children were found inside. Adams is frustrated that it took police so long to finally take action and remove the children from the home.
“So, I call about these kids and they come out here and they don’t do anything. So what happens? You’re not going to do anything until one of them gets severely hurt or killed,” said Adams. “I just think it’s ridiculous. As a parent, it’s ridiculous.”
Adams said she has had a turbulent history with these neighbors and will be forced to move her family in fear of retaliation.
“All this conflict in the neighborhood and what’s happening with these people is actually going to force us out of our house and to me that’s not fair,” said Adams.
Police said nine dogs and one cat were also found in the home.