A North Carolina couple is facing charges of child abuse after police found maggots in one of their seven children's diapers.
Authorities found a total of seven unclean and malnourished children during a welfare check at Jamie Leigh Hiatt and Michael Patrick McKnight's home on Oct. 27, KTHV reported. Hiatt, 25, and McKnight, 26, were both arrested on charges of child abuse.
McKnight is believed to be the father of three of the children found at the home. Hiatt was identified as the mother of the other four kids. All seven children were under the age of six and were found living in "very filthy and unhealthy living conditions."
“As soon as the officers walked in, they reported an overwhelming smell of feces and urine,” Michael Hunt, of the Lexington Police Department, told The Dispatch. “The overall condition of the home was nasty; the living conditions were extremely poor. The malnutrition had been taking place for quite some time. From the condition of the children, it was apparent this was an unclean environment.”
Three babies, a 1-year-old and 18-month-old twins, were rushed to a nearby hospital. That's when it was discovered that one of the twins had maggots inside his diaper. They were transferred to another hospital, and are reportedly in fair condition, according to WGN.
All three children are expected to be placed in the custody of Davidson County Social Services, and put into the foster care program or placed with family members. The other four children -- a 3, 4, 5 and 6-year-old -- have also been removed from the home.
An eighth child who was also living in the house was staying at his father's home at the time. That child is reportedly 8 years old.
McKnight and Hiatt's bonds were set at $100,000 each. The charges they are facing include six counts of misdemeanor child abuse and one count of felony child abuse.
Authorities said additional charges may be added as the investigation is ongoing. The couple will appear in court again on Nov. 20.
Neighbors were shocked at the couple's arrest.
"Our dogs woke us up. There were cops and ambulances, we didn't know what was going on," Sherry Crouse told KTHV. "The next day, they were back ... here bringing out kids clothes and beds. We still didn't know what was going on."
"We really didn't see much. They kept the kids in the house all the time," Crouse added. "But if I had known all that was going on, I would have made some calls myself."