Jailed parents didn’t mention son home alone

A 10-year-old was left alone in an apartment on SE Powell in Portland while his parents were in jail. (April 26, 2013)
A 10-year-old was left alone in an apartment on SE Powell in Portland while his parents were in jail. (April 26, 2013)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — While his father and stepmother were in jail on meth charges, a 10-year-old boy was home alone in an apartment filled with feces and garbage. His parents didn’t tell police about the boy, and police didn’t ask.

The boy reached out to someone on the Internet to say he’d been alone for more than a day.

An officer noticed the home was in “deplorable conditions with garbage, food and dog feces all over the floor,” court documents state.

The smell was so strong the officer could not stay in the home for more than eight minutes, he wrote in his report.

Police said the residence had no running water and there were flies everywhere and nearly every square inch of the apartment was covered in trash. There was a bare mattress without a sheet on the bedroom floor where the boy slept.

DHS case worker Sarah Parnell said chances are someone noticed the deplorable conditions or smelled the stench from the house but didn’t speak up.

“It’s sometimes life-saving important,” she said. “Kids die from this kind of thing. Neglect not only affects the physical and mental health of a child.”

Sgt. Randy Kendall of the Multnomah County Jail said they don’t routinely ask inmates questions about their family, and instead focus on if “they are having suicidal thoughts or did they come in with any prescribed medications.”

But they’re open to adding a question.

“Absolutely, I would be behind something like that 100%,” he said. “Understanding what’s happening with the situation that, I think, perhaps we need to look at something like that and potentially add that to our series of questions.”

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