News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday, April 16, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- An Augusta couple charged with child cruelty was in court Monday after their 5-month-old baby was found dead.
In their first appearance in front of a magistrate judge, Aileen Wright pleaded her case.
"There was food in the house, we had just went grocery shopping. We didn't fully go grocery shopping, but we just went grocery shopping. There was food in the freezer and in the refrigerator," she said.
Aileen was alongside her boyfriend Nick Womack. Both are charged with four counts of deprivation of a minor and cruelty of a child in the second degree.
However, what investigators say they found in the fridge of the Gordon Highway home doesn't quite match up.
"There were roaches on the refrigerator, in the refrigerator, in the bedrooms," said Richmond County Sgt. Dan Carrier.
A filthy home with four children in one bedroom sharing bunk beds.
"The lights in the bedroom were a string of Christmas tree lights," Carrier said.
Baby Nicholas Jr., just 5 months old, was found dead in the playpen with animal bite marks all over his body.
"Insect and rodent, but one or both of those probably caused those marks," Carrier said.
Wright's sister, Katherine, spoke out to only News 12.
"It's just a lot of thoughts going through my head of what I should have done, could have done, but then again I think to myself, I didn't know."
Katherine says her younger sister had recently moved into that home.
"I didn't see it until the last minute. This is after the death of the baby that I seen the actual condition of the house," she said. The times that I went, you couldn't tell that it was that bad."
Apparently, it was really bad. Investigators say trash bags lined the halls, dishes littered the bathtub and there were grease and roaches in the sink.
"I believe she should have reached out for help, but maybe she was scared. I don't know," Katherine said.
So now Katherine finds herself reaching out.
"Ultimately, I would like to see the kids come home with me, someone who they know, someone who they trust," she said.
Those kids are now in state custody.
"I don't have my mom, I don't have my older sister, my younger sister has now been taken from me, all I have left are the children, and I just wouldn't want to see them in the system," Katherine said.
In the meantime, mom and dad will be going through one of their own: the judicial system. A bond hearing is set for later this week.
Katherine tells News 12 she is doing what she can to get the kids, but it's expected to be a lengthy process.
We are still waiting on autopsy results for the 5-month-old.