Children found in squalor

Published 1:00 am Friday, May 18, 2018

VIDALIA — A Vidalia woman faces 13 combined counts of juvenile and animal cruelty charges after deputies said she left her child in a residence filled with trash, roaches and animal feces.

This juvenile and four others — all between the ages of 9-14 — lived in the residence with 33-year-old Kimberly Roberts, the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office reported.

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The investigation began with a call Wednesday night about an unruly juvenile and eventually led deputies to Roberts’ residence.

But after a responding deputy knocked on the door, received no response and peered through the window, what they discovered to be unruly was the state of the residence. The deputy, CPSO reported, saw roaches, cat feces and multiple piles of trash all over the floor. Eventually, after the on-duty sergeant arrived at the scene, the juvenile who had been left home alone answered the door and let the deputies in, at which point they were overwhelmed by a foul smell akin to sewage.

“This is probably one of the biggest betrayals that a child can ever have when a parent turns on it and doesn’t care for it,” CPSO chief deputy David Hedrick said.

Though the juvenile was the only one at the residence when deputies arrived, they later learned that a total of five children ranging from ages of 9-14 lived at the residence, as well as three fully grown cats and five kittens, CPSO said.

Deputies waited for Roberts to return to the residence and arrested her on charges of five counts of cruelty to a juvenile and eight counts of cruelty to animals — one count for each child and animal living at the residence.

Roberts was the only adult currently residing at that location, CPSO reported.

Deputies took the juvenile at the scene into their care and brought him to the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, and all of the children involved are currently in safe hands, Hedrick said.

“I’m so grateful our deputies were able to step in and help them,” Hedrick said. “But still, this is a sad day.”

Roberts was being held on a $13,000 bond at the parish jail as of Thursday afternoon.