COLUMBUS, Ind. – A Columbus couple is arrested after police say the pair left an 11-month-old boy home alone while living in squalor.
The two suspects are both accused of child neglect.
Officers arrived at a Columbus home in the 1700 block of Elm Street for a welfare check around 11:15 p.m. to check the welfare of an 11-month old child.
Officers immediately recognized a problem before stepping through the front door.
“Even standing outside the home the odor of animal feces was overpowering is the word the officers used,” said Columbus police Lt. Matt Harris.
Bike tires, wooden chairs and some wayward cats clutter the home’s front porch, but neighbors say the conditions inside are even worse.
“There was just stuff piled from the floor to the ceiling. It was gross,” said neighbor Destiny Jowers.
Police say Bradley Longworth returned home several minutes after police arrived and initially denied his child had been left alone, but officers arrested Longworth along with the child’s mother Sarah Coe after police found the 11-month-old boy alone in a bug infested crib with dirty laundry and trash piled several feet high.
“The conditions inside that home were not suitable for animals, let alone adults or children or anybody,” said Harris.
“It’s just awful because he’s 11-months-old and can’t care for himself. He doesn’t know how to do anything,” said Jowers.
Destiny lives in the same building, which is split into a duplex, and claims the suspects frequently left the child home alone.
“There was one day he woke up and cried for like an hour and nobody was there,” said Jowers.
Columbus police confirm they had been called to check on the child earlier this year, although no criminal charges were filed at that time.
Officials with the DCS wouldn’t talk about any specific prior investigations, but neighbors say they had seen child care workers at the home in recent months. Unfortunately, the baby boy still routinely appeared to be neglected.
“He didn’t look like he’d been bathed in months. He was always sweating and always had a full diaper and no clothes on,” said Jowers.
Both suspects are facing preliminary charges of child neglect. Both remain behind bars at the Bartholomew County jail.