SOUTH SALT LAKE Utah (ABC 4 News) – A couple has been charged with neglecting their children.
The charges were filed by the Salt Lake District Attorney against Mark and Martha Lovins.
Inside the apartment police found cockroaches, animal feces and bad food scattered around the home.
“This was something that was driven by the physical appearance of the children,” says Sim Gill, Salt Lake’s district attorney. “(They were charged because of) the dilapidated conditions and deterioration that occurred there. There were animal feces in the premises.”
A neighbor of the Lovins, Teresa McBee tried helping Martha Lovins. She says a crying child got her attention and she knocked on the Lovins’ door.
"She says I can't let you in,” McBee says. “My husband doesn't want anybody in the apartment."
But McBee talked her way into the home and found it filthy.
“I saw a big mess, diapers everywhere, food on the carpet in the living room and kids picking it up and eating it,” she says.
McBee says the kitchen was even worse.
“Dishes were sitting in the sink and I offered to help her and I brought towels and dishrags,” she says.
And after cleaning she left.
But a few weeks later, another neighbor notified police about a crying child.
Police arrived and found a similar mess.
“There was a foul odor,” Gill says.
Department of Children and Family Services were called in to remove the three children which range from one to four years old.
Sims says the four-year old was autistic and a concern for police.
As for the parents, Martha and Mark Lovins, they were charged with three counts of child abuse.
But McBee sympathizes with the children’s mother.
She believes Martha Lovins is also autistic.
“I just felt like she is in over her head and she's left there all day long with these kids and why isn't anyone there helping," McBee says.