BRADDOCK (KDKA) — Called to an apartment house on Corey Avenue in Braddock, police found scenes of stench and squalor; and there in the midst of it, a 4-month-old girl, two boys – ages 1 and 2, and not an adult in sight.
“There were no diapers in the apartment, no food,” said Braddock Mayor John Fetterman. “We gave the kids some water, and the children drank it like they’d been in the desert.”
Even more alarming was the discovery of a rock of suspected crack cocaine, and one of the kids playing with a lighter.
Police later arrested their 22-year-old mother Jamaya Grant. She’s now charged with three counts of felony child endangerment.
But a shaken Mayor Fetterman couldn’t help but compare the near-tragedy to the death of twin 3-year-old boys in neighboring North Braddock back in January. They lit a stove while their mother left them alone.
“There’s crack cocaine, there’s lighters, there’s things that kick it to a special level that we need a certain level of consideration because we don’t want more children dying in a house fire that they started because they were left alone or abandoned by their parents,” said Mayor Fetterman.
The children are now in the custody of Children and Family Services. But Mayor Fetterman is concerned that CYF “get this right,” and not automatically place the children with relatives.
“The conditions in this apartment were so severe that I hope they look outside of the family network,” he said.
CYF’s Walter Smith says the agency will conduct a thorough investigation before placement.
“We welcome his concern. We think as a community we all should step in and be concerned about children; and of course, we at Children, Youth and Family are most concerned about these children, so we will go through our process,” said Smith.