According to a Floyd County Police Department incident report, December 14th, 2022, at 2:35 PM, PFC Walters responded to an address on Westpoint Drive in reference to a possible child neglect case. According to the complaint, there were several children living in a state of extreme neglect. One of the children spoke about the neglect. According to her, there were rats in the home to the extent that one had actually been in her sister’s hair. She went on to state that they had several dogs and cats to help combat the rat issue. According to the report, “She also advised that there were dog and cat feces on the floors and that they would have to clean the bathtub out before use. She stated that there was a fire in one of the bedrooms, so now the children slept in the living room on the floor. She also advised that there was no food in the home and that they were frequently hungry, only eating at school or grandmother’s home. Officer Walters was also told that the children had a strong odor and visible dirt on their clothing. Another child even had several conversations where she stated she wished her life were happier. Officer Walters was also told there were a total of 6 children and three adults in the home.” When officers arrived at the home, they reported it was obvious that the outside was in an extreme state of disrepair. Officers reported the horrific conditions in great detail, stating the terrible smell of the home was apparent even from the roadway. Officer Walters, “When [I] knocked on the door, [I] observed dead roaches caked the window on the door. The smell at the doorway was extremely strong. The backyard of the property was extremely nasty. While inspecting the outside, DFCS also arrived at the property, stating that they had an open case and were doing a home inspection.” Officers obtained a search warrant for the house Officers made contact with Janet Duncan-Lary, 34, of Lindale, outside the home. She was on the phone and standing in the driveway by her vehicle. When Lary-Duncan saw Officer Walters, she began to explain that she was trying to get the outside of the home cleaned up. Officer Walters reported she was familiar with her (Officer Walters) due to multiple citations for her property that EPD had issued. When. Officers made entry. They located Courtney Howard, 35, and her husband David Shawn Howard, 41, both of Lindale, who lived in the home with their three small children. Courtney refused to leave and was observed attempting to clean up the house, which made absolutely no difference, according to the report. Officer Walters reported in great detail the horrific living conditions that were immediately observed. According to the report, “There were cobwebs on nearly every service along with flies and roaches. Animal feces smeared all throughout the floors and walls. The house was almost too much for the veteran officer, between the smell and the heater, which was on. There a kennel with a dog inside under the cabinet. This dog had no access to food or water. The was an extreme amount of dead insects and old moldy food inside to the extent that Officer McCormick was becoming physically ill due to it. The counter spaces were also covered in feces, roaches, rats, and animals, as well as just pure filth. The officers documented each room. All adults were then taken into custody on felony charges for the conditions inside the home. All six children were taken into custody by DFCS. Building Inspection performed an emergency closure on the property to begin the process of condemning the home. Duncan-Lary, Courtney Howard, and David Shawn Howard were transported to Floyd County Jail, where each was charged with cruelty to children in the first degree x6 and contributing to the deprivation of a child resulting in serious injury or death x6.
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