Seven children were removed from a home in Pennsylvania and their parents were arrested after police said they discovered them malnourished and living in a home in deplorable condition.
Pennridge Regional police responded to the 600 block of Roseann Lane on the afternoon of April 23 for a report of two minors entering an abandoned trailer, according to a police report filed May 19. Police found two girls, 12 and 14, who appeared unkempt and lived in a trailer next door.
Out of concern for the girls, the officers asked their parents, Shane and Crystal Robertson, to let them see their living arrangements.
The home was "in obvious disrepair and disarray," the report says. A bicycle lock was on the fridge, which Crystal Robinson said was because they had little food; she referred to the children as "garbage disposals with legs."
Police also found another child, a 16-year-old girl, at the residence. The Bucks County Children and Youth Services Agency responded to investigate.
Four more children were found hidden in a back room — girls ages 4, 8 and 10 and a boy age 6. Shane told officers he didn't tell them about the other children earlier because "he did not want to get in any trouble," according to the report.
Investigators found unsanitary living conditions, including a bad odor, several bugs and two dozen rats in cages, as well as feces on the floor and on a blanket. Many parts of the home appeared not to have been cleaned in a long time, and the bathroom, the kitchen, the floors and the walls needed repair.
Also found at the home were "two dogs, two turtles, two rabbits, snakes, toads, and a four-foot reptile known as a Tegu," the report says.
The Robertsons were arrested and charged with seven counts of endangering the welfare of a child. All seven children were sent to a hospital to be examined and placed in foster care.
All but one of the children were found to be clinically malnourished, two tested positive for Covid-19, two had low kidney function, and three had fevers and were diagnosed with acute viral syndrome, according to the report.
Two of the children needed extensive dental treatment, two needed corrective eye care, and two needed to shave most of their hair off because of severe matting.
It was also discovered that the children had no formal education and that they struggled with reading, writing and spelling, according to the report.
"They all exhibited social anxiety and disclosed that they did not like being in public or around other people," the report says.
Shane and Crystal Robertson both posted 10% of $10,000 bail, police said. It was not clear whether they have legal representation.
CORRECTION (May 30, 2023, 11:32 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the first name of the children’s father. He is Shane Robertson, not Shawn.