After health exam, DCFS places the children with other family members.
Three babies found by Chicago police in a West Side apartment without running water or central heat were taken into protective custody Saturday, and their parents were charged with neglect and endangerment.
The babies-a 16-month-old boy, 14-month-old boy and 4-month-old girl-were taken from the apartment in the 600 block of North Spaulding Avenue to Norwegian-American Hospital for an examination, and they were found to be in good health, Chicago Police Lt. John Andrews said.
Police said they were later turned over to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, which placed them in the care of other family members.
There were roaches, rats, numerous open containers of alcohol, exposed electrical wires, an overflowed toilet with human waste, and no food or water in the second-floor apartment where the children were found, Chicago police said Sunday. The youngest child was found on the floor hidden behind a mattress, they said. Police were originally called to the home for a domestic disturbance, officials said.
Latrice Johnson, 23, and boyfriend Kevin Wysinger, 21, who police said lived in the apartment, were each charged with three misdemeanor counts of endangering the life of a child and three misdemeanor counts of contributing to the neglect of a child, officials said. Shirley Fenner, 21, who police also said lived in the apartment, was charged with one misdemeanor count each of endangering the life of a child and contributing to the neglect of a child.
The apartment is in a multiunit building lined with trash and debris.
The building is in disrepair, with holes in the interior walls and ceilings, broken windows, piles of clothing and personal items, shredded carpet and an unlit stairwell leading to the second floor.
The living room floor in the apartment where the children were staying was heavily stained, but it appeared to have been recently swept.
On Sunday, Shirley Johnson, who said she is the children’s grandmother, said the building belongs to her mother, and family members often stay on the top floor, with the first-floor and basement apartments empty.
Johnson said her daughters-Latrice Johnson and Shirley Fenner-do not live in the apartment, nor do their three babies. Instead, her children and grandchildren, along with Wysinger, were visiting her Saturday night when someone called police because Latrice Johnson and Wysinger were fighting, she said. The children were never left alone, Shirley Johnson said.
Shirley Johnson, 44, acknowledged the apartment does not have running water or a working toilet, but she said the Chicago police description of their residence was wrong.
She showed a Tribune reporter and photographer around the apartment, and no rats, roaches or animal droppings were observed. Johnson said the family is eager to move somewhere better, but they have no money. Johnson, who has several disabilities, could not recall how many years it has been since she has worked.
Police said they found the little boys sitting in the apartment wearing winter coats. Not yet knowing about the baby girl, police said they took the two little boys into protective custody, and arrested Latrice Johnson and Wysinger. Fenner, who had been at the store, returned shortly after and was arrested.
In the meantime, other officers stuck around the apartment to wait for evidence technicians to arrive, police said. About a half-hour later, police said, the officers heard noises coming from a bedroom.
That’s where they discovered the baby girl on the floor behind a mattress that was propped against a wall, police added.
But Shirley Johnson disputes the police account that the infant girl was hidden on a floor behind a mattress.
Bail was set at $25,000 for Johnson and $10,000 for Wysinger when they appeared for a bond hearing Sunday.
Parents of 3 babies found in squalor are charged, police say By Emily S. Achenbaum, Chicago Tribune, 01/05/09, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-babies-west-sidejan05,0,3628883.story
Whenever I hear PEBO talk of change, hope, his New World Order and his community organizing days, I think of these situations.
How is it that a nation so full of excess can allow people to live like this and with a clear conscious?
Furthermore, how is it that Illinois children services are sending these innocent babies back to the environment that they found them in?
Can’t they see the signs? Or don’t they care?