2 people charged with child neglect in Grafton after officers find home in “uninhabitable” condition during welfare check


GRAFTON, W.Va. – Two Grafton residents are in custody for child neglect after officers said they found their home in a dilapidated condition following a welfare check.

On January 16, officers with the Grafton Police Department responded to a home on East Main Street in Grafton after receiving an anonymous tip about two juveniles staying at the home while it had no running water and “appeared to be in gross neglect,” according to a criminal complaint.

When officers arrived that morning, they found several used mattresses stacked up against the porch and trash cans full of different refuse, including home insulation. The front porch was piled full of objects, with a path through it to get to the front door, officers said.

At the door, officers were met by the residents, Suzanne Connors and her boyfriend, Donald Marks, both 34, who both agreed to let them into the house, according to the criminal complaint.

Once inside, officers informed Connors and Marks that they were there to perform a welfare check and had received a complaint that there was no running water at the home, to which Connors replied that they could not get the water turned on “due to reasons with the City of Grafton,” according to a criminal complaint.

Connors also told them that they were using jugs of water to flush the toilet, wash dishes and bathe, officers said. They also saw multiple plastic totes stacked up in the living room with an electric heater beside them, as well as records and an empty box and a trash bag on the other side of the heater, according to the complaint.

Officers walked through the kitchen to find that there were dirty dishes piled up, a table completely covered and multiple items lying on the floor, they said. Among the items lying on the floor were used puppy pads with “feces streaks on them,” according to the complaint.

Also in the kitchen were dishes on the floor and items blocking the microwave, and a rug in front of the refrigerator lying atop two boards that were covering a hole in the floor, according to the complaint.

In a bedroom that Marks claimed was his and Connors’, officers saw missing ceiling tiles and slats hanging down, items strewn about the room, and a dog, officers said.

In a bathroom near the bedroom, officers noticed the “strong odor of urine and feces,” coming from the commode, which hadn’t been flushed and was full of excrement, as well as more waste covering the front of the toilet, according to the complaint.

In a closet in the bathroom was a window stacked behind it, and a dog kennel in front of the shower with multiple items stacked on top of it, officers said. In a room where two juveniles resided, items were piled all around with pathways made to reach the beds, as well as leaking, bowing tiles on the ceiling, according to the complaint.

Police then made a referral to Child Protective Services and found that an agent had already been assigned. When the agent arrived, she said that conditions had gotten worse since the last time she was there, officers said.

According to records from the City of Grafton, the house hadn’t had water since August 2018, the complaint states. A building inspector also went to the home and did an inspection, which concluded in the home being condemned and deemed “uninhabitable for human occupancy due to the dilapidated and filthy conditions along with no running water,” officers said.

Marks and Connors are both charged with child neglect creating risk of injury. They are both being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail, with bail set at $12,000.

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