Toddler found caged and living in filth; parents charged
POSTED: Friday, August 10, 2012 - 1:30pm
UPDATED: Friday, August 10, 2012 - 1:34pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Deputies responding to an animal cruelty call at a home in Cleveland, Texas found a 16-month-old girl living in "filthy" conditions and possibly in an animal cage.
Investigators were sent to the rural house Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.
"We located a 1-year-old child inside a poor-conditioned residence. That child has been checked by EMS and taken by Child Protective Services. The only adult here has been arrested," said Capt. Rex Evans with the Liberty County Sheriff's Office.
Evans said there were small roaches crawling around the baby. She was also covered in flea and tick bites, detectives said.
"We have some indication that the child was being kept in some type of cage in the property," said Evans.
Renee Davis called 911 after she spotted a dead horse on the property.
"It's heart-wrenching, especially now that I found out there is a baby involved," she said. "It just breaks my heart."
One horse was found dead on the property.
"Deputies did arrive and found several emaciated horses, dogs, cats and even a deceased horse, and we are yet to determine how many other deceased animals are on the property. It does appear there are some," Evans said.
Deputies said the baby's mother, Mable Larsen, was taken into custody and charged with animal cruelty. More charges could be filed later.
"The only charge is in regard to the animals. Further investigation will continue. Further charges may be forthcoming," Evans said.
Deputies said they are looking for Aaron Parker, a person of interest, to question him. Neighbors said they were stunned to learn that there was a baby living in the home because Larson and Parker aren't supposed to be anywhere near children.
Children's Protective Services officials said Parker's 10-year-old daughter was removed from his home in 2009 because she had been beaten and starved. A month later, the couple was arrested, accused of abusing and starving four other children. The couple appealed the case but lost. They were both put on probation after being charged with injury to a child.
The state terminated Larsen and Parker's parental rights to all of their children in 2011.
In January, Larsen was arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated. That charge violated her probation.
In April, Larsen was arrested again, accused of not completing community service.
Investigators had to wear masks and a special breathing apparatus because of the strong stench in the home, officials said.
Child Protective Services will attend a hearing to determine if the baby should be placed with another relative.