Five Naked Children Found in Unheated, Unfurnished Apartment
CHICAGO (AP) _ A landlord, accompanied by police, kicked down a door of a West Side apartment and discovered five naked children, shivering and alone in a garbage-littered, unheated room, officials say.
The children, who ranged in age from over a year to 5 years, were placed in state custody.
Their mother, who was not at home at the time, was charged with endangering the health of her children and was to appear in Circuit Court today on the charges, police said.
Landlord Frank Beaulieu had called police Tuesday after seeing the children through a window of the five-room apartment.
″There were feces, filthy clothing matted together and garbage strewn around,″ said patrolman Dennis De Gregerio. ″The only source of water was a tub full of dirty water. There was no heat.
″The couch was the only piece of furniture, and the five naked children were huddled together in it. They didn’t move at all, but once we got clothes on them they started responding.″
″I couldn’t believe it,″ said paramedic Rich Krizka. ″Five naked kids in a room that wouldn’t qualify as a garbage dump. I asked them if they ate anything, and the oldest said, ’We had an egg this morning.‴
No food was found in the apartment, police said, and the youngsters gobbled up hamburgers and french fries as doctors evaluated their condition.
The children’s mother, Eva Flowers, 36, was taken into custody not far from the apartment Tuesday night. She had her oldest child, a 9-year-old boy, with her when arrested.
The five younger children, two boys and three girls, were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center. Three had what appeared to be cigarette burns on their chests, said Dr. Sharon Ahart, chief of pediatrics.
They were identified as twins Brandon and Brandy Flowers, a little over a year old; Earl Traylor, 2; Felicia Traylor, 4; and Shalanda Flowers, 5.
″We are dealing with recent trauma and old burn marks,″ she said. ″One child has them on her face. Some appear to be radiator burns. One child’s head looks like it has been shaved and a wound sutured up.″
The doctor said all the children had lice and bruises.
The children were put in the custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services pending investigation, police said.
Beaulieu said he rented the apartment six months ago for $150 a month to Emmanuel Traylor, 62, a grocery store security guard who arrived with a bag of groceries while police were there.
Traylor told police he was the father of two of the children, but he denied responsibility for them.
″I didn’t know how bad it was because I never visited there,″ he said.
The gas in the apartment was shut off two weeks ago, Beaulieu said, when he found the meter had been knocked down.
″I tried to get them out of here,″ he said. ″I came here a hundred times. But she told me she had a gun, and she wouldn’t let me inside.″