Local family seeks better living conditions

"They used the cooking stove for years to heat the house."
Heather Chapin-Fowler
Dec 2, 2013

Thanks to the generosity of a few local residents, the disabled family in New London had a heat source this weekend.

Two residents and the Salvation Army, brought them a space heater which Helen Searl, the mother of Fredrick and Scott Biller, bundled up in front of wrapped in a comforter Friday afternoon.

On the front of the mobile home, padlocks are secured on the entrance doors of the family's West Washburn residence.

The Huron County Job and Family Services division of the Adult Protective Services office was closed Friday, so no information could be obtained as to what the family's case-worker, Nakita McCann, is doing about the situation.

Fire Chief John Chapin is launching an investigation into whether the padlocks are a violation of any fire and safety codes on Monday, he said Friday evening.

"I can't call the Richland County State Fire Marshal's Office on a weekend unless there has been a suspicious fire. But, I can take a drive past there in the morning and make a suggestion (to remove the padlocks)," Chapin said.

Saturday and Sunday, the padlocks remained on the family's mobile home, sometimes with the padlock hanging open and other times with the locks closed.

The home is owned by Lillian Thompson, of Ohio 60, Greenwich, according to municipal and country records. Thompson owns several properties in New London, according to the county auditor's website.

Thompson sued Searl in 2004 for the title of the mobile home for less than $500 in back rent owed on the lot, according to Norwalk Municipal Court records.

The approximate 780-square-foot home was built in 1982 and is currently valued at $4,100, according to the Huron County auditor's website.

Thompson has known that the mobile home's furnace has been inoperable for some time, but has not fixed it, according to the family's close friend Scott Kidd, also a New London resident.

"They used the cooking stove for years to heat the house now," Kidd said. But, the stove broke and the family was left without heat as the temperatures dropped this fall.

Kidd has known Scott Biller all his life and has watched over the family as best as he could, he said.

Kidd has a file of the agencies and people he has personally contacted advocating for help for the family. However, he has run into obstacle after obstacle and has had no luck finding any assistance for them. Most recently, Kidd called McCann, but she hasn't returned his calls, he said.

Kidd has also contacted Christie Lane, an agency specializing in children and adults with disabilities, but they haven't been able to offer any help. "I keep calling them and asking what is taking so long, but they say there's a waiting list," Kidd said.

"(The agencies) bounce me all over the place.... It's very frustrating," Kidd said.

Searl said she has lived in the village for 74 years. She will turn 75 this year.

"(Searl) has worked her ass off for years to keep her family together," Kidd said.

Searl said she doesn't mind moving with her family to Norwalk or Sandusky, but she's not leaving without her three dogs.

"I got these dogs right off the street and I'm not going anywhere without them," Searl said.

Her son Scott is 52 and Fredrick, who has been the subject of several police calls in the last two months, is 42, Searl said.

Fredrick was deemed incompetent to stand trial in 1992 by the Huron County Common Pleas Court for an unknown felony charge, according to court records. The case was dismissed as a result.

Meanwhile, Fredrick Biller has been charged in Norwalk Municipal Court for gross sexual imposition, aggravated menacing, criminal mischief, criminal trespassing, obstructing official business in the years spanning from 1991 to the February. Most recently, he was charged with misusing the 9-1-1- emergency service.

Fredrick has reportedly the intellectual abilities of a person between the age of 5 to 10 years old, Kidd said.

Searl is both physically and intellectually disabled. Scott Biller graduated from high school and works odd jobs in the village, but also has intellectual disabilities, Kidd said.

As far as getting the family suitable housing, Kidd has also tried to help them find a new residence with no success.

Landlords in town are refusing to rent to the family, he said. Police Chief Mike Marko confirmed the landlords' responses in an earlier interview.

Kidd attempted to buy a home listed for sale for about $30,000, but couldn't get a bank to finance it. So, Kidd contacted the owner of the home and asked if he would consider renting it to the family, he said.

The owner is Carl Ours II, according to the Huron County auditor's website.

"(Ours) told me, 'Just buy it. I don't want to deal with them.' And, then he turned around and rented it to someone else," Kidd said.

Kidd got the same type of response from landlords who had homes listed for rent on North Railroad and Washburn streets, he said.

Comments

Everyone is fam...

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

Everyone is fam...

Where was the personal attack? Show me. I was pointing out that no one should look down their noses at anyone who wouldn't rent to these people if they wouldn't want them living in their home.

REFLECTOR: YOU POSTED A PERSONAL ATTACK AGAINST THE HOME OWNER NAMED IN THE ARTICLE. RIDICULOUS.

Commenter

They do need help, I agree with you. And there are agencies to help people that need help. With the disabilities and the police rap sheet - these people aren't innocent. As for Mr. Kidd helping, how much help is it to let the family heat with a stove "for years" not very safe. They are lucky they didn't have a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. IF the mother is in over her head and she is not disabled as her children are then SHE has a responsibility to reach out for help and get her children help. If she too, is mentally disabled, someone somewhere let this family down. But nobody HAS to rent to them.

somescrewyname

@luckyd, Yes I think we all understand these are people/family do have rights, what I want to know is do you understand what gross sexual imposition is?, Then I want to know from you, do their rights as a family who has mental issues supersede the rights of their neighbors? Do people have a right to their privacy? Do people have a right to be outside and not be cussed out? Do they have the right to be outside and not be grabbed and hugged and trying to be kissed? And since I know you have the internet, go look up Gross Sexual Imposition it is a very serious crime. The mother is almost 75 years old, she cannot control what her sons do now. The family needs help for sure, but it may not be the kind of help they want, but will be the help they need.The mother don't want to give up her dogs, how big a fight will that be if it becomes necessary to leave the dogs behind,if they have to move, very few landlords allow animals of any kind, there is so much here to consider, and yes your right it won't be taken care of in a day. And yes the other person is right, this has went on far to long, and a solution needs to be found. But the way things stand right now I truly understand why no one wants to rent to them.

itsnotme

I think the question should be...does FREDDIE know what gross sexual imposition is?? I would say someone functioning at a 5 year old level has no idea.

I live in this area...people get mad at this family because they expect them to behave like "normal" people and they are not of "normal" intelligence...not one of them, the mother included. They are all mentally challenged.

If it is true that the trailer is actually owned by a landlord, I find it appalling that she would allow a tenant to live in a trailer without heat. If they aren't paying rent then formally evict them. If they are paying rent, she has an obligation to fix the furnace.

I understand this family can be a nuisance; however, if Freddie was suffering from a condition readily recognizable as being challenged (such as Down's Syndrome) and was behaving like this no one would dare to complain. I think it's just because they don't physically appear to be challenged that people just expect them to act like everyone else. I don't think that is a reasonable expectation.

I also wonder why on earth it is taking APS so long?

Everyone is fam...

I think most of us comprehend that these people are not in the right frame of mind and cannot control their behavior. Freddy may not know what his offenses mean but, that does not eliminate the risk and danger they pose. If anything that makes it a more dangerous situation.

My biggest problem with this story is our county should be providing some sort of help and the author of this article should be ashamed of #1 her writing skills and #2 placing blame on the people who couldn't or wouldn't rent.

Gone2work

Luckyd how about you letting them move in with you then. Take care of them, feed them, bathe them. Let them near your children. Then I bet your tune would change.

Scranton Tibbs

This article seems to place blame on the owner of the home for not renting it out. THAT IS HEARSAY. Did you interview the homeowner? That's journalism 101. This article is poorly written and shameful. You remove comments, and ban people for doing the same thing Heather Chapin-Fowler did here. Kind of a double standard, but YOU own the paper, so it's OK I guess. If I was Carl Ours I would look into a case for LIBEL. My god, what kind of reporting is this. I am ashamed, and YOU should be too.

Commenter

With all due respect - this article is very poorly written.
What is the objective here?
I agree, journalism 101 - get both sides to the story.

Commenter

Are you following up?
"The Huron County Job and Family Services division of the Adult Protective Services office was closed Friday, so no information could be obtained as to what the family's case-worker, Nakita McCann, is doing about the situation"

Commenter

.

queenjhb

@luckyd, please move them in with you.

humpty_dumpty

ok a few thoughts!!!

yes there humans and they have rights but with that said people have right to not wanna be around someone with a sex crime history!!!! TRUE he might not understand the charge however once commited the crime if unable to stand trial the court should put him in some type facilty~!

THE LANDLORD- should be charged its a landlords job to keep a place up plain and simple!

i have known all this family years- the mother can be nice has taken care boys years at same time she can also be very rude hateful- the oldest boy i must say in my dealings with him has been a nice guy does odd jobs- youngest boy- trys kissing everyone puts hands on everyone etc why disabled honestly no way id rent to him!

LET me say help is out there ITS NOT HARD FIND it takes little effort i have got my family free stove free furnace among other things

modern concrete

Federal Law that has been broken by the people of New London and the court system.
Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
Title VIII Civil Right 1968 Amended prohibit discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of dwelling and in other housing-related transaction based on race,color, national orgin ,religion, sex, familiar status (including children under18) living with parents or legal custodian, pregnant women and people securing custody of children under the age of 18 and DISABILITY.
Section 109 title 1 of the housing and community development act 1973 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex and religion.
Title 11 of America with disabilities Act 1990 prohibits discrimination based on disability.

modern concrete

Huron county welfare should of step in. we pay taxes that support people in this situation. There are secection 8 homes in the county that could be used!I do hope the people that have discriminated against this family are prosecuted. It is federal law!!!! If you don't want certain people renting from you. Don't advertise!!! If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

ladydye_5

Does that include a SEX OFFENDER? If they are not renting to the family maybe it has to do with the fact he is a SEX OFFENDER. I would NOT want to be the one that rents a home to a CRIMINAL. No matter to me if he is disabled with the mind of a 5 year old or not. Sounds like he has a history of it and continues to do it. I would not want to be responsible for that. I would NOT rent to them based on that, CRIMINAL HISTORY. Pretty sure that would show up on a background check, which most landlords require.

CoopersHawk72

Is it discrimination for a land lord to not rent to people who have known issues as described here? If so, then the law is unfair to the owners. No wonder you see more and more people refusing METRO.

modern concrete

Discriminating is discriminating! It is against Fed law!!!!!

CoopersHawk72

luckyd:

lots of us have children with disabilities and no whining and crying is done. Some people want to sit and whine help me, help me, help me. If they can't take care of themselves they can't take care of 3 dogs but they demand a place to accept their dogs and their life style? Get a grip -- you complain about institutional living? Bring them home with 3 dogs and expose YOUR family and life style to the issues. Other people have rights too. Why do we not consider the rights of the people in New London? YOU need to buy a clue, lucky.

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