LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Police in North Carolina have charged a couple with felony child abuse after maggots were found in the diaper of an 18-month-old baby, one of seven children in their care.
According to a news release from the Lexington Police Department, 25-year-old Jamie Leigh Hiatt and 26-year-old Michael Patrick McKnight have been charged with six counts of misdemeanor child abuse and one count of felony child abuse. They were jailed on $100,000 bond each. It's not known if they have attorneys.
According to Lexington police, officers performing a welfare check at a home last Friday discovered seven children all under the age of 6 that were malnourished and unclean.
Once at the home officers observed "very filthy and unhealthy living conditions," according to police.
Capt. Michael Hunt said officers encountered an overwhelming smell of feces and urine when they went into the home.
Officers made contact and started assessing seven children inside the home ranging in ages from one year old to six years of age. Davidson County EMS and Davison County Social Service were called for assistance.
Once at the scene EMS transported two eighteen month old twins and a one year old to Lexington Medical Center for treatment.
The two twins and one year old were later transported to Brenner’s Children Hospital in Winston Salem, NC for treatment. They are currently listed in fair condition.
The one year old has been released from Brenner’s and is being placed by Davidson County Social Services.
Maggots were found in the diaper of one of the children by the medical staff at Lexington Medical Center.
Sherry Crouse lives next door to the house where the alleged child abuse took place.
"Our dogs woke us up. There were cops and ambulances, we didn't know what was going on," said Crouse. "The next day, they were back out here bringing out kids clothes and beds. We still didn't know what was going on."
The other four children were removed from the home and have been placed in foster care or with other relatives.
Crouse says she wishes she could have done something to help the situation sooner.
"We really didn't see much. They kept the kids in the house all the time," said Crouse. "But if I had known all that was going on, I would have made some calls myself."
On Monday, police were back on scene and WFMY News 2 and other media outlets to leave the area so a representative from the Department of Social Services could come in and take custody of at least one of the kids in the house.
Detectives have been working with Davidson County Social Services and Davidson County District Attorney’s Office about possible additional charges on Hiatt and McKnight.