Owner of Squalid Blackstone, Mass. Home Fails to Respond to Demolition Order

The owner of the squalid Massachusetts home in which the remains of three infants were found has failed to respond to a demolition order by the deadline.

Town officials are moving forward with plans to demolish a home in which the remains of three infants were found.

Health Board Chairman William Walsh and representatives from several demolition companies performed a walkthrough of the property Thursday to determine the cost and strategy of tearing it down, after the owner, Kristina Rivera, of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, failed to meet Wednesday's deadline to present the town with a plan to raze the home. The town's efforts to contact Rivera have failed.

The town will place a lien on the property to recoup the cost, expected to be at least $12,000, he said. That is in addition to the $20,000 Rivera owes the town for cleaning out the squalid, rodent- and insect-infested home that was filled with used diapers.

Even after it was cleaned out, a strong smell remained and Walsh said it would likely never again be habitable.

The demolition may not happen for "at least another couple of weeks," as the building's utilities must be disconnected. Bids must be submitted by Oct. 7, Health Board Secretary Colleen Strapponi said.

Meanwhile, Rivera faces fines of $500 per day.

The board is scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss the home.

The human remains were found in the house last month. Four other children had been removed from the home in August, including two for whom no birth records could be located.

Former resident Erika Murray is being held without bail on charges including fetal death concealment and permitting substantial injury to a child. Her lawyer has suggested she has mental health issues.

Another ex-resident of the home, Rivera's brother Raymond Rivera, has pleaded not guilty to drug charges for allegedly growing marijuana in it.

Both are due back in court Oct. 14.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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