Saturday, December 10, 2016

West Virginia: Boy and dogs removed from ‘deplorable’ home. Karen Reese and Sabrina Criswell charged

WEST VIRGINIA -- A New Cumberland woman kept her 2-year-old son in such deplorable conditions that Hancock County authorities could barely stand to be in her house when they removed the child on Dec. 1, court records said.

Sabrina Lynn Criswell, 24, of 282 Commerce St., has an appearance before Hancock County Magistrate Scott Hicks this morning on a felony charge of gross neglect of a child (creating substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury).

Criswell is being held at the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville on a $100,000 bond following her arrest on Tuesday.

Authorities were alerted last week when Child Protective Services received a call about a child living in a home potentially infested with fleas and worms, according to a criminal complaint filed in Hancock County Magistrate Court. The case was referred to Hancock County Assistant Prosecutor Allison Cowden, who met with New Cumberland police Lt. Jeremy Krzys on Dec. 1.

Krzys, Chief Lester Skinner, CPS worker Jen Lough and Senior Humane Officer Nichole Busick Felouzis went to the Commerce Street home the same day, on suspicions of child and animal neglect, the complaint said.

Upon arriving, the four were met at the door by the boy, wearing only a diaper, and then Criswell. They noted a “strong odor” of dog urine and the presence of dog feces when they went inside, the complaint said.

“(The boy) was walking in it and had it all over the bottom of his feet,” Krzys said in his report. “The little boy was filthy. Besides the dog feces all over his feet, the bottom of his feet were black from walking around the house.”

The reported noted that the plywood kitchen floor was “soaked with dog urine and mold,” so much so that the visitors could feel themselves sinking into the floor.

Criswell told officials that she and her son lived in the house with her mother, father, sister, boyfriend and sister’s boyfriend. She said the boy stayed in her parents’ bedroom.

“We walked into that room, and the smell from dog urine was so overbearing you had to cover your nose to be in there,” Krzys said.

One of the boy’s stuffed animals was covered in dog urine and lying on the floor, the complaint said. Authorities said they also found dog feces, pill bottles, beer cans, cigarette butts and bed bug spray cans in the room where the boy stayed.

During the visit, the boy was “coughing like crazy and his nose was running,” Krzys said. No bed sheets or clothes could be located for the boy.

Criswell told the officer that she had recently taken her son to the doctor for coughing, vomiting and worms, the complaint said.

It was then that authorities contacted a family member and made plans to have the boy removed from the home.

They also removed three dogs–a male poodle, a female poodle mix and a male poodle mix–belonging to Criswell’s mother, Karen Lynn Reese, 45, the complaint said.

The dogs were suffering from fleas, dehydration, hair loss, peritoneal or periodontal disease, and other maladies, the complaint said. Reese was charged with three misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. She posted a $15,000 property/surety bond on Wednesday.

Krzys, Skinner and Lough followed three family members out to where the boy would be staying and spoke to the woman who would be keeping him. The family member was informed of her responsibilities and provided with food, milk, wipes and diapers.

(Review Online - Dec 9, 2016)