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4 Children Removed From 'Extreme Danger' In Cockroach-Infested Kentucky Home

Police even found a cockroach under the head of a child being removed from the allegedly filthy home.

By Eric Shorey
Sean Landrey and Jessica Downs

Four children were removed from a Louisville, Kentucky home when police discovered that they had been sleeping in beds riddled with roaches and bedbugs. The two adults legally responsible for their care were arrested.

Police had been called to the home after one of the children living there had been observed with a cut lip at school. A tip led them to the house, where they discovered "a severe amount of clutter and trash," according to an arrest report obtained by WLKY of Louisville, Kentucky.

The most concerning discovery was the reported presence of cockroaches and cockroach feces throughout the home: on the furniture, along the baseboards, and inside kitchen appliances. Evidence of bedbugs were also discovered in the furniture, according to authorities.

A 4- and 5-year-old allegedly shared a very small bed in one room, while a 7-year-old was expected to sleep on an mattress infested with both roaches and bedbugs in another. The children told police "they have bugs crawl on them and bite them" when they sleep, according to the arrest report.

A 2-year-old slept in a similarly infested crib, described in the report as "an EXTREME danger," according to The Courier Journal of Louisville, Kentucky. Police observed they were hundreds of baby cockroaches in the cribs and the amount of insect feces in the crib was in the "thousands-plus." They even reportedly found a roach under the child's head as they were being removed.

The children were also allegedly discovered wearing soiled clothing.

Jessica Downs, 31, and Sean Landrey, 38, were charged with second-degree criminal abuse and endangering the welfare of a minor on May 9. Police confirmed an investigation into the household had already been ongoing with child protective services.

Landrey is the biological father of one of the children. He acts as a caretaker for the other three.

The children have since been put in the care of a grandmother, who is cooperating with law enforcement.

Jefferson District Judge Amber Wolf was horrified after reading the arrest report at a hearing on May 10.

"This citation is three pages long and very, very disturbing," Wolf said, according to WDRB of Louisville, Kentucky.

Robert Ralph, Downs' uncle and the owner of the home, disagreed with the descriptions given by police.

"Those kids were not dirty. They were not filthy," Downs said, according to WDRB. "It wasn't really all that dirty. It was just under furniture ... There was, I admit, roaches."

Ralph added that the couple had moved in because they had no place to go and that he believed the infestation began after they began occupying the home. He plans on having professional cleaners brought in to address the situation.

Downs and Landrey were being held at Metro Corrections on $10,000 bonds as of May 10.