DA: Couple charged after malnourished children found living in filth
DENVER — Police make a disturbing discovery inside a Denver home.
And now, a mother and father sit behind bars for felony child abuse—their four children in protective custody.
On September 29, the mother took her 2-year-old to St. Joseph’s Hospital for a cut on his forehead. And that is when police got involved.
It happened inside apartment 3 at 920 E. 18th Ave. Police say four malnourished boys—ages 2, 4, 5 and 6, lived in utter filth.
“They were unclothed. They were rarely clothed, almost in underwear, diapers, what appeared to be underwear. And hanging out the window–just appearing to be unsupervised a lot of times,” say Debra Miller and Caroline Cunningham, employees of a family law firm next door.
Police arrested the father, Wayne Sperling, 66 and the mother, Lorinda Bailey, 35 on Wednesday, Oct. 2.
An arrest affidavit says Denver Police visited the parent’s home after doctors alerted them about possible child abuse.
An officer “…noted the strong odor of a decomposing animal coming from the residence when Sperling opened the door.”
That decaying smell came from the children’s room, which the officer said, “…was full of flies to the point they were covering every surface.”
“The officer noted the children appeared to be non-verbal and were making ‘infant-like noises to each other.”
When police went back the next day, police “…found 1-2 inches of cat feces both old and new under the bed…the wood floor…soaked with cat urine.
Then, October 1, a doctor from Family Crisis Center said, “The children had very poor and delayed verbal skills…and none of them were potty trained…”
“I’m just glad they are out of that situation, and hopefully they never return to that situation again and they find good homes,” says Miller.
Police say they found no medical records for the kids—nothing to indicate they’ve even been immunized.
The parents face four counts of felony child abuse each.
They are in jail on $5,000 bond and are due in court Tuesday.
They pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child abuse in June 2009.