Police: Indiana Toddlers Found Living In Feces-Covered Bedroom, Parents Arrested

| by Alexander Rubinstein

Two parents from Clark County, Indiana, have been taken into police custody after police say their children had been locked inside a hot bedroom covered in feces, food and trash.

Shaun M. Horlander, 23, and Ashley F. Horlander, 22, were arrested Aug. 4  by the Clark County Sheriff’s Department after they received a tip from Child Protective Services, KPHO reported.

When officers arrived at the Horlander family home they encountered a revolting smell, according to the police report. Officers said the house was “filthy and unmanaged.” Toys, clothes, food and broken egg shells with yolks spilling out were strewn throughout the house, Officer Erik Elliot noted.

The Horlander couple's 6-year-old child was sitting on the couch and reading a book when officers found him. The other two children, both 2 years old, were locked upstairs in a bedroom.

The police report says the parents confessed to locking their kids in the room for the several weeks. They claimed to have done it because they didn’t want the toddlers to go downstairs at night and make a mess.

Ashley said that the 2-year-olds would yell to her when they had to use the bathroom.

Officers reportedly heard the children screaming while they were in the house, but Ashley said she could not hear them. Police say they found the toddlers lying on the hardwood floor with just a pillow, surrounded by clutter including dirty diapers. Feces were also smeared on the wall, said Officer Grube.

Elliot said the bedroom had no electricity and was unbearably hot.

The kitchen sink was also full of dirty dishes with food on them. Hanging above was a piece of sticky insect tape covered in bugs, Elliot said. There was little food in the refrigerator but multiple alcoholic drinks, the officers said.

The arrest report made note of a cockroach infestation and cat feces on the floors. Police also say they found two loaded shotgun-type weapons and adult sex toys.

The parents were arrested and Child Protective Services took the kids to their grandparents, who now have temporary custody.

According to a Department of Child Service’s May 2015 assessment, there were 48 substantiated incidents of child neglect in Clark County that month. There were also 137 unsubstantiated cases. The county also saw two substantiated case of physical abuse and five cases of sexual abuse on children in May.

Sources: KPHO, Indiana Department of Child Services / Photo credit: Clark County Sheriff’s Office via KPHO