Mom of kids found living in squalor gets two years in jail

By: Lynnsey Gardner, Melissa Tune Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner, Melissa Tune Email
Baby bottle

Image from Burke County home where children were found living in squalor. (WRDW-TV/file)

July 31, 2009

WAYNESBORO, Ga.---It was one year ago today that investigators made a shocking discovery in Burke County: eleven children living in squalor with no electricity, no running water, and very little food.

It all started when a neighbor called to report three children were trying to steal a chainsaw. When deputies got there, they found the children, ages ten months to 18 years old, living in filth. That's when the investigation began.

Today, the children's mother, Christine Long, is in jail after pleading guilty to child cruelty charges in court. She will spend two weekends every month in jail for about the next 16 years, adding up to two years total jail time.

The DA's office calls it one of the worst cases of neglect they've ever seen.

It was an uneasy day as witnesses testified about the children. The evidence presented as shocking--so much so that at one point the judge threw down his gavel in disgust.

The evidence showed just how bad conditions were at the family home. It was revealed that the children were not even taught basic skills such as proper bathing. Allegedly some of them had to bathe from the toilet and the kids had never taken a bath or shower.

Foster parents claim they have had to teach the children how to bathe and even had to bleach their feet because they were so dirty.

The children also allegedly went without new clothes for years. Some of the kids made comments about stealing clothes out of storage sheds.

The children's health was also discussed. It was stated that over a ten year period, there were only four doctor appointments for all eleven kids.

Two of the children tested positive for Hepatitis B antigens, and doctors say the parents never brought them back to get full immunizations to fight the disease. In fact, doctors couldn't find imuunization records on any of the 11 children. .None of them received dental care. Two children alone, an 8 year old boy and 5 year old girl have already had to undergo more than 10 thousand dollars in dental surgery in the last year.

One of the foster parents talked about the deplorable conditions: "The smell...it was kind of a mix between animal and death. It was worse than road kill. It was horrible," said foster mother Tanya Torek. "(One of the children) was visibly underweight, sunken eyes. I've never seen hip bones before. Clear view of the hip bones. It's like you could put paper up to him and trace them, it's unbelievable."

In June, the children's father, Jeremy Long, started out pleading not guilty but changed his mind. He entered into an agreement with the DA's office so his children would not have to testify, pleading guilty to ten counts of cruelty to children. A judge sentenced him to three years in prison with another ten years probation.

We're told that if Jeremy Long ever did get his children back, it would be under the watch of state family services.


You must be logged in to post comments.

Username:
Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Robert Location: Aug Ga on Apr 26, 2010 at 10:31 AM
    this is some bull **** man!!! they should both bo to prison to see how its like to get abused for 15 years thats as long i would have sent there ***** to jail man!!
  • by Tom Location: Burke County on Apr 26, 2010 at 10:22 AM
    i hope they rot in hell when they get there!!!!
  • by Robert Location: Burke County on Aug 26, 2009 at 07:16 PM
    Well, I guess Burke County can make the National news once again. (Gough was known as "Rock City" and the drug capital of the state.) Now it can be known as the best place to neglect kids and get away with it. I smell a rat.
  • by Anonymous Location: Aug Ga on Aug 2, 2009 at 06:32 PM
    Sorry example of a Judge and DA,on this case!! I hope the voters run them out of office behind this injustice!! Did she have these children in a hospital?? Where are the Doctors in all this mess?? Why didn't the neighbors report all these children,not going to school before the incident?? People can see by this sentence,that all these "good ole boy" towns,have their own laws!!I pray for those children and the foster parents that are giving them love.
  • by Anonymous Location: REIDSVILLE NC on Aug 1, 2009 at 09:02 PM
    THIS IS DISCUSTING THE STATE ALWAYS GETS IN YOUR BUSSINESS THEN WHEN IT IS THIS BAD THE PARENTS GET A SLAP ON THE HAND THEY SHOULD GET A HARSHER SENTENCE THESE KIDS WILL NEVER GET OVER THE PHYSICAL OR MENTAL ABUSE I DONT THINK THESE PARENTS SHOULD EVER BE ALLOWED TO SEE THESE CHILDREN AGAIN AND I HOPE THE BEST FOR THESE CHILDREN AND AS FOR THE JUDGE AND DA YOU DONT NEED THE POSITION YOUR IN FOR A SENTENCING LIKE THE ONE YOU GAVE THESE PARENTS FOR THESE CRIMES ON THESE CHILDREN THAT CANT DEFEND THEMSELVES AND HAVING TO LIVE IN A SITUATION LIKE THEY LIVED IN
  • by Jessica Location: Marietta on Aug 1, 2009 at 11:29 AM
    I feel that this was a joke because where taken then they made me take class after class about what not to do and what to do what happen to the children services coming in and checking didnt they have complaints from school/neighbors noone complained why thats what need to be ask??
  • by Cher Location: Georgia on Aug 1, 2009 at 11:06 AM
    It is appalling that the Georgia justice system basically gave a joke of a sentence to these parents. How is it possible to for parents to have 11 children and only get less than ten between the two of them for neglecting all of the children. The judge was said to be disgusted and the DA stated this is one of the worst cases, please, these children deserve at least 15 years of hard labor for the injustice their parents committed. How could any person have sat in the court room and supported the mother? Why? She said she woke up every morning and lived for her kids, when? Was she living some where else? This woman could never had an ounce of love for her children, to allow her family to be treated so unfairly. How dirty was she and her husband when they were discovered? How could she have been in the court room talking and smiling? What a shame that people have all these children but no plan to take care of them.
  • by Louis Location: Augusta on Aug 1, 2009 at 08:44 AM
    What a joke of a sentence. The judge is a real coward! Borrow a pair next time you have to sentence someone for a horrible crime.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 1, 2009 at 07:19 AM
    The judge said this was possibly the worst case he has ever seen yet look at the sentence he threw down on her. Guess this means he'll let more minor incidents get away free of charge...just a little probation time. The judge tried to make it seem like this was such a harsh sentencing yet the father is in PRISON and the mother is in the Burke County Jail where her "friend" Greg Coursey will watch over her. Sounds like to me this sentence was already "planned" before the case even started. Bet she'll sleep in offices and watch tv at night time instead of a jail cell. Way to go Burke County and Judge Blanchard. Way to show an example to parents and kids. The father in PRISON and the mother every other weekend in jail. Why is the court system today so scared of everybody. These parents should suffer "in prison" the way the children suffered. What a coward the judge is.
  • by Debra Location: Georgia on Aug 1, 2009 at 04:03 AM
    I guess it's okay to make your children live like ANIMALS and you get away with it. What about the Grandparents, where were they while all this was happening to the CHILDREN? Got to love BURKE COUNTY.OMG
  • Page:
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 newsroom@wrdw.com Fax: (803) 442-4561
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 52202137 - wrdw.com/a?a=52202137
Gray Television, Inc.