Dayton police searching for two theft suspects at a Dayton home Wednesday night discovered five children living in filthy conditions. Three of the children had been taken into that home in December when their mother was arrested.
Goodloe Briscoe, 32, was booked into the Montgomery County Jail that evening on charges of child endangering and domestic violence. His girlfriend Heather Coker, 33, who is responsible for the children, could also be facing child endangering charges.
Montgomery County Department of Job and Family Services spokesman Kevin Lavoie said that a home’s condition raises concern when it poses a danger to the health of a child. He said a messy home does not necessarily warrant removal of children from a home, but some of the things police reported such as the presence of large amount of animal feces, would be considered a health hazard.
Police said their “boots stuck to the ground with every step” inside the house at 114 Glencoe Avenue Wednesday evening. The house smelled of urine and feces, and roaches were running across kitchen counters, according to a Dayton Police report.
One bedroom had no furniture and the floor was completely covered in dog feces. The only shower in the house was full of items, as if it was used for storage instead of bathing, according to the report.
There were four dogs, two cats, two pet rats and a fish tank in the house, but police said, “The house was not even suitable for the animals to be living in.”
The children in the home, ages 5 to 14, included Coker’s two biological children and her three nephews whom she took in in December, according to Lavoie. The children’s grandmother, who took custody of them Wednesday night, told police that the children do not attend school regularly.
Lavoie said Children Services has had prior contact with Heather Coker which included recent referrals for truancy and the condition of the home. He said a prior case involving her children was closed in December, at which time the home’s condition was not considered deplorable by a case worker. The department made attempts last week to contact Coker about the recent complaints.
He also said the nephews were not officially placed in the home by the county so no visit to the home would have taken place in regards to their custody.
According to the police report, Briscoe told police that the animal feces was only one day’s worth and said the children were treated well because they were fed and he, “did not beat them.”
Coker did not offer much explanation for the house’s condition except to tell police that she hurt her hand, preventing her from cleaning up the house, according to the report. Police later learned that her hand was broken when Briscoe allegedly slammed her to the ground and hit her.
She was taken to Miami Valley Hospital for treatment and issued a summons to appear in court on possible charges.
Lavoie said the police placed the children in their maternal grandmother’s custody Wednesday, but notified MCDJFS which has reopened a case on the family.
The two theft suspects police were searching for were found hiding amongst large piles of dirty clothes in the basement.
Michael and Michelle Schoonmaker, both 41, were also booked into the Montgomery County Jail to face theft and obstruction of official business charges.
By Katie Wedell - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)
©2013 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)
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