Police: Woman arrested after children found in unsanitary conditions

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Charlese Whitfield

Blytheville police arrested a mother Tuesday in the 300 block of Stemac, after they say she left her children home in unsanitary conditions.

Charlese Whitfield, 29, is charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, as well as two failure to appear warrants.

The police report said the home had a foul odor, and there were “very large amounts of garbage along with flies and maggots in the living room, kitchen and all three bedrooms. The bathroom also had garbage and the toilet was full and overflowing with feces and urine.”

The report added that the hallway leading to the bedrooms had approximately 1/4-inch of water.

“The water appeared to have come from an air conditioning unit that was setting on a small table beside the sofa,” the report said. “The home itself did not have running water but did have electricity.”

The report said the children were all wearing dirty clothes and no shoes. "I observed them to be very dirty and unkept," the report said. The 9-year-old female had scarring that appeared to be from cuts on her left arm and upper chest, the report said.

“When I asked how she got the wounds she advised she had scratched herself on the door frame of the front door,” the report said. “When she told me this, one of the younger male children stated, ‘no you didn’t, that came from momma.’”

Police were called to the residence around 11:41 a.m. Tuesday, and initially the children refused to open the door and used profanity toward the officers.

Police contacted the grandmother, who came to the house and agreed to get the children to open the door.

“At about the same time, the mother, Charlese Whitfield, also arrived on the scene,” the report said. “She asked why we were at her home. We explained we received a call about the minor children being in the home and the caller had stated they heard the children screaming as if in distress. Whitfield told us her children were fine and she did not know why we were there.”

Police asked the see the children to verify they were safe, and Whitfield had one of the children open the door. “She then immediately told the child to shut and lock the door,” the report said. An officer prevented the child from shutting the door and police entered the residence, finding the reported conditions.

The children were released to their grandmother and the Department of Human Services investigated the scene.