Fifteen children were rescued from the seven adults responsible for caring for them in Woodruff, South Carolina, according to an Aug. 27 report from Fox News. The adults were all arrested and each charged with unlawful neglect of a child. All 15 kids along with the seven adults were living in a double wide trailer that Spartanburg County deputies said “smelled of urine, was covered in roaches, animal feces and more.”
The Spartanburg School District attended by the children is being credited with alerting local deputies to the possibility of child abuse and neglect occurring in the double wide trailer housing the 22 occupants. Officials at the school grew suspicious, and alarmed, when “a teacher was trying to help one of the children and a cockroach crawled out of their underwear,” according to a statement made by Lt. Kevin Bobo of the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office.
When the local cops arrived at the double wide, deputies could see 10 dogs and four cats running around the residence. Deputies also reported seeing six of the children swimming in an above-ground pool “filled with green algae water from lack of chemical treatment.” Bobo went on to report that as bad as the conditions outside the trailer were, it was even worse on the inside.
Inside the trailer, deputies reported seeing “animal feces on the floor, a roach infestation in the kitchen cabinets and throughout, piles of clothes and clutter and medicine bottles laying around.” The trailer had a strong urine odor throughout.
Deputies also discovered unsecured guns lying around in plain sight inside the trailer. Bobo said that as bad as things were, "The situation could have been a whole lot worse, especially if one of the kids had gotten a hold of a firearm."
A neighbor, Pat Goforth, said that she wasn’t shocked to hear of the arrests and that she was glad the kids were rescued from that trailer. Goforth said that she had seen the children wandering around the neighborhood unsupervised, alone, and sometimes walking in the road without wearing any clothes. She added she wishes now she would have called the police about the children’s’ situation a long time ago.
"People need to call when they suspect something is going on that shouldn't be," Goforth said.
"And I would give anything if I would have done it sooner."
According to WSAV, deputies issued arrest warrants for: 28-year-old Cherie Toney, Aaron Dodson, 35-year-old Andy Dunbar, 58-year-old David Hayes, 26-year-old Brianna Henderson, 31-year-old Karen Dunbar and 46-year-old Cindy Ann Cox. They were all released from jail on personal recognizance bonds when they appeared in court on Wednesday.
Suspect Dodson was the only one of the seven charged to speak with the media, saying "What they done was illegal. They broke into my house and done what they should not have done."
Deputies in Spartanburg said that additional charges against the adults could be forthcoming. The 15 children were all placed into emergency protective custody. Pictured above from top-left to bottom-right: Cindy Cox, Aaron Dodson, Karen Dunbar, Andy Dunbar, David Hayes, Brianna Henderson and Cherie Toney.