A Pennsylvania couple faces a slew of child endangerment charges after police found their seven children living in nightmarish conditions — with dozens of rats and “feces on the floor.”
Authorities discovered the children at the Sellersville trailer park home of Shane and Crystal Robertson after officers responded to a call of two children entering an abandoned trailer and stealing, according to the Pennridge Regional Police Department.
“Upon further investigation it was determined that the children resided in a home nearby,” the department said.
When officers arrived at the trailer home on April 23 at around 1:30 p.m., they discovered a barefoot 12-year-old female in the front yard who explained that her parents had told their children not to “go over to the abandoned trailer” and that her parents “should not be held responsible,” according to the affidavit of probable cause.
The juvenile female told officers she was only entering the abandoned trailer to take a blanket to keep her “rats warm” since her family had no money.
Another 14-year-old girl then appeared with “large work boots too big for her feet and had on clothing that appeared dirty” who admitted entering the abandoned trailer as well — and revealed to the responders that the parents were not home.
The officers then called up the Robertsons to return home and, upon their arrival 30 minutes later, agreed to let them look around the residence after they had concerns for the two girls’ health.
Upon entry, the trailer was described as being in “obvious disrepair and disarray,” with police discovering another 16-year-old female inside that “appeared unkempt,” with the father allegedly telling police that the teen was the last daughter.
The officers also observed that the family’s refrigerator was locked shut with a bicycle lock, to which Crystal Robertson, 37, told them they “were ‘stealing’ everything and referred to the children as ‘garbage disposals with legs,’” the affidavit said.
The officers then left the residence to file a “Childline report” but were called back to the trailer at around 5 p.m. after a member with Bucks County Children and Youth discovered three more girls, ages 4, 8, and 10, and a 6-year-old boy hiding in a back room.
Police were greeted by the father, Shane Robertson, 47, outside of the home “who advised he had seven children and did not tell officers this earlier because he did not want to get in any trouble,” the report states.
After observing the condition of all seven children, they were taken to a hospital for evaluation, cops said.
Six of the seven children were determined to be “clinically malnourished,” with two of them testing positive for COVID-19, another pair having low kidney function and the remaining three running fevers and were found to have undiagnosed “Acute Viral Syndrome,” the affidavit said.
One week after the children were removed from the house of horrors, the 12-year-old female still had “maggots” roaming in her matted hair, according to the documents.
Authorities continued their search of the home, unveiling more of the horrific conditions the children were forced to stew in.
“The room that Shane and Crystal slept in had a bed in the middle of the room with several animal cages surrounding it. The sheets on the bed did not appear to have been washed in several weeks/months. On the floor were items of garbage and the walls had holes in them,” the document states.
“The third bedroom had feces on the floor in front of the entrance. A filthy mattress lay at the center of the room with a dirty blanket on it. This room also housed approximately two dozen rats that were located in two different cages.”
Two dogs, two turtles, two rabbits, snakes, toads, and a four-foot reptile “known as a Tegu” were also discovered among the two dozen rats, documents said.
“The only notable food located in the home was for the animals,” investigators said.
Police found no cleaning or hygienic products such as soap or toothpaste while investigating the trailer.
The residence was in such a horrid state that Crystal Robertson told the investigators that she “fell through the floor” in her bedroom a few months prior.
“None of the seven children had any formal education, and all lacked basic knowledge. Some of the children did not know their own birthdates. Four of the children suffer from speech impediments,” investigators reported.
“All of the children struggle with reading, writing, and spelling. They all exhibited social anxiety and disclosed that they did not like being in public or around other people.”
The children have been placed in foster care since being rescued from the home.
Crystal and Shane Robertsons each face one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child after investigators observed the 4-year-old allegedly abused and six counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of the rest of the children.
They were booked into jail on May 19 but were released the following day after posting their $10,000 bond, according to court documents.
The preliminary hearings scheduled for both parents on May 29 have been moved to Aug. 7.
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