Eight Aiken children found living in squalor

By  | 

September 14, 2006

Officers in Aiken say they found children living in filth.

Now, their parents have been arrested and charged with four counts of child cruelty.

The arrest stems from an incident back in April when the couple's two-year-old was found wandering in the street late at night.

31-year-old Twanda Perry ended up turning herself in by accident. She went to Aiken Public Safety trying to pick up records, and staff realized there was a warrant out for her arrest.

Officers say they found eight children at Perry's home at 116 Abbeville Avenue living in horrible conditions.

On the outside of the home, everything appears to be quite normal. But on the inside...

"Very filthy and deplorable conditions for anyone, let alone children," Capt. Maryann Burgess of Aiken Public Safety told News 12.

A home infested with roaches, with floors covered in food like chicken bones and hotdog pieces; counters littered with old food; no electricity in the back of the house and a toilet covered in feces.

And on top of it all, one queen size bed for all eight children--the youngest just nine months old.

When we asked Capt. Burgess how she'd rate the home on a scale of 1 to ten with 10 being the absolute worst, she said, "I'd say 10."

"No sheets on the mattress," Capt. Burgess said. "Mom and Dad's bed is far better than the kids'."

So much better, in fact, officers say they found plenty of sheets and blankets in Mom and Dad's room, along with a TV and $1000 worth of DVD's in the closet.

32-year-old Alphonso Fenner and 31-year-old Twanda Perry are charged with four counts of cruelty to children.

The parents have since moved out, and when we caught up with Perry at her new home, she had nothing to say to News 12.

Capt. Burgess says cases like these are all too common.

"Children are work," she said. "Parenting is not for the weak. It's clear in these cases there's a lack of parenting."

Twanda Perry was arrested on Tuesday, and the children's father, Alphonso Fenner, was arrested yesterday.

The couple is expected to go to court next month.

Aiken Public Safety says they believe all eight children are back with their parents tonight.