Five children were taken from an apartment found in fetid conditions Friday, while three adults in the family who lived in the bug-infested, foul-smelling home in Manchester, New Hampshire, were arrested, police said.
The five children were aged 2-6, and they were discovered in the second-floor apartment on Spruce Street near Beech Street after a property manager called police, Manchester police said Monday.
"When they walked inside, they found deplorable conditions. There was trash strewn about, flies and bugs on the ceilings and walls. There was a pungent odor, there was feces in the crib where one of the children slept," police spokeswoman Heather Hamel said.
Alicia Washok, 37; Eddie King, 44; and Lori Harmon, 62, were arrested on charges including endangering the welfare of a child and reckless conduct, according to police. King is Washok's husband and Harmon her mother; they allegedly resisted arrest.
It wasn't immediately clear if they had attorneys who could speak to the charges.
The property manager had been trying to get into the apartment to fix a leak, but wasn't being let inside.
"When he went to the door to speak with her, he noticed that there were cockroaches all climbing around the outside and the inside of the door, and he could hear children inside," Hamel said.
That's when he called police, who could see bug and flies near one of the apartment's windows, Hamel said. Upstairs, outside the unit, the smell of the unit was noticeable.
Washok wouldn't let the officers inside, but a child -- who Hamel described as covered in "filth from head to toe" -- came outside, prompting the officers to demand to be let in for a welfare check, police said.
The Obregon family, who has lived on the first floor for the past five years, say they've had to deal with infestations and a strong odor emanating from their neighbors' door since they moved in more than a year ago.
Cledia Obregon and her husband have resorted to to flypaper, mosquito screens and even taping up the air vents, but nothing stops the infestation or the smell from creeping into their home.
Roaches are spread across her daughter's bedroom, and dead flies hang stuck to strips of flypaper hanging from the ceilings, which they said they replace every three days.
"We called the landlord many times to please come and look into what was happening on the second floor because we could no longer take the stench," Obregon said.
Michael Dionne, who has lived on the third floor for six years, said the health concerns are nothing new.
"As soon as they moved in, it just went downhill fast," he said. "You could see all the bugs on the door … we were telling them every week."
Along with the bugs and trash in the apartment, officers saw moldy food near the children's beds.
"Immediately, the police officers felt that this was an unsafe, dangerous area for the children to be staying in," Hamel said.
The children were taken to a hospital for observation, police said.
The property owner and the management company have not responded to requests for comment.