BLACKSTONE, Mass. (AP) — The bodies of three infants were found Thursday in a filthy house where four other children were removed by authorities last month, a Massachusetts prosecutor said.
A woman who lives at the home was arrested on charges related to the living conditions at the house, according to police. Erika Murray, 31, would be arraigned Friday on charges that also include intimidation of a witness, prosecutors said.
Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said authorities don't know when or how the babies died, or their ages and genders.
Detectives investigating a case of reckless endangerment of children found the bodies at the house in Blackstone, about 50 miles southwest of Boston on the Rhode Island line. Investigators were wearing hazmat suits in the small house with orange evidence tape over the front door.
"The house is filled with vermin," Early said. "We have flies. We have bugs. We have used diapers, in some areas, as much as a foot-and-a-half to two-feet high. The house is in a deplorable condition."
Early said four other children, ages 13, 10, 3 and 6 months old were removed from the house Aug. 28 after a neighbor who discovered their living conditions notified police. The prosecutor said one of the children in the house approached the neighbor about a child who wouldn't stop crying. Early said the 6-month-old was found covered with feces lying on a bed.
Murray, whose connection to the children living at the house was not immediately clear, was expected to remain in police custody overnight. It was not known whether she has an attorney.
Marilynn Soucy, 68, who lives a few doors down from the house, said in a telephone interview she's still in shock at the news in the neighborhood where she has lived for 35 years.
"I am so disgusted. It hasn't really registered in my head yet," she said. "My husband and I raised seven children. We have 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. I cannot imagine hurting a child."
She said she and her husband, Bob, had rarely seen the couple who lived in the house at least three years, or their children. She said they occasionally saw the 10-year-old, a boy, playing outside or the woman sit on her porch.
Soucy said she never heard any major complaints about the couple, other than her grandkids noted once that the house "smelled."
The house, Soucy said, had been renovated extensively before they moved in.
"If we thought kids were being abused or living in squalor we would have said something," she said.
Soucy said the only time there was commotion at the house was when officials removed the children from the home.
The state Department of Children and Families said Thursday children who were living at the home are in state custody, and that the department had not been involved with the family until it received a report of possible abuse or neglect.
Early said it's too soon to know if charges will be filed in the infants' deaths, or against whom. It wasn't immediately clear where the children's parents were.
Early said investigators still have much to do and are expected to be on the scene overnight. "I can't give you answers right now," Early said.
Marcelo reported from Boston.