Five children were found living in a Manchester, New Hampshire home being described by authorities as "filthy," "unsafe" and "deplorable," and the adult household members have been arrested, according to the city's police department.
Steven Legault, 36, and Candace Krauklin, 35, were arrested Thursday and are facing charges that include felony criminal restraint, five counts of endangering the welfare of child, and in Kraulkin's case, a felony charge of witness tampering.
On Jan. 7, a Department of Public Works employee reported that a young boy on the 400 block of Lake Avenue was yelling out a window that he could not get out, according to a news release Friday from the Manchester Police Department. An officer who responded also heard the boy yelling and saw him in a sunroom with bars on the window, according to the release.
Police officers knocked on the door of the home, and could "immediately smell a strong odor coming from inside," the release said.
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Legault was reportedly hesitant to let officers inside after answering the door, but ultimately agreed, revealing what the department has described as "deplorable" conditions.
The home allegedly had a strong odor of urine and feces, animal waste on the floor and trash throughout. Police said that a gate was in front of the sunroom door, which was shut, and when it was opened by Legault, there was a wet discolored mattress and feces on the floor.
"It was difficult for the officers that walked inside. The smell just hit them in the face," Heather Hamel, with the Manchester Police Department, said. "It was a smell of urine and feces. It was on the floor, trash was thrown about.”
Along with the boy in the sunroom, there were four other children in the house, all of whom were under 14, police said. There were also two dogs and at least 15 cats inside the home.
According to court records, the 8-year-old who was discovered in the rear porch with a locked gate has a rare genetic disability. Police say the youngest child of the group was confined in the space for long periods. All the kids removed from the home and taken into state custody.
Neighbors were shocked and disturbed to hear about the conditions the kids were living in.
"God knows what’s going on inside. It could be a house of horrors,” one man said. "Let’s hope those kids are OK in the long run."
"It’s disgusting, it really is," another neighbor said. "For anyone to treat children that way, it’s really unfair."
Assistant County Attorney Carl Olson said Krauklin is the mother of all five children, while Legault is the father of one or two of them.
The pair appeared in Hillsborough Superior Court North on Friday for their arraignment. They were released on personal recognizance but they've both been ordered to stay away from the children.
Prosecutors say there could be more charges.