PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh police arrested a Troy Hill couple after the six children in their home were found living in filthy conditions.
“There was no toilet paper, and the children had been instructed to use curtains to wipe themselves. The floor that they slept on was urine- and water-soaked,” said Pittsburgh Police Commander Rashall Brackney.
On Monday night, six children, ages 1 to 12, were taken from a house on Lowrie Street with only the clothes on their back.
“At one point, as they were asking for food, one of the children, the 2-year-old, walked up to the officer with an uncooked package of bacon and said, ‘Please?'” said Commander Brackney.
Police say that their father, Dean Payne, was sitting on the front stoop, and that he’d been drinking beer. He told police he drinks a case a day.
“I don’t think we’ve ever encountered him in a sober state,” says Commander Brackney.
The mother, Mickole Persinger, was in jail on child endangerment charges after one of her kids was found wandering in the street.
Gerald Smith, their next-door neighbor, says people were always pitching in.
“Everybody tried to help them, they really did,” said Smith. “People come in, they would bring in food; they’d bring in stuff for the kids.”
But what police say they found inside the home was enough to sicken any normal human being.
There was no hot water, the kids had not bathed for a while, the place was insect infested and there was black mold on the baby clothes.
Allegheny County Children, Youth and Family Services took custody of those children.
“We’ve had approximately either 17 police or medic calls to that location,” Commander Brackney said.
She points out that not every call to the house was reportable to CYF, but recently the agency was notified a number of times.
“Pittsburgh Bureau of Police has notified them from September of last year to September of this year on five separate occasions,” said Commander Brackney.
KDKA asked CYF for an interview, they sent this statement: “Pennsylvania child welfare confidentiality does not permit the Department of Human Services to confirm involvement with any particular family or shed light on services offered. However, it is important to note that the Department always conducts a thorough internal examination and case review when we have concerns about the quality of our case practice.”