Ugh. In news that just keeps getting worse the more you read, a couple in Florida was arrested yesterday on charges of child neglect and endangerment. Todd Christopher La Duke and Nicole Louise Scalise were living in a “house of horrors” in Daytona Beach with their three children aged 11, 6, and 4.
The house reeked with dog urine and feces, and police found evidence of bath salt drug abuse. Oh, also there was a dead body in late stages of decomposition. And the couple was cashing the dead woman’s Social Security checks and food stamps.
Police were called for a well-being check after the Department of Children and Families hadn’t been able to contact the homeowner in almost two months. The body is thought to be 33-year-old Tiffany Kain -- who owned the home where she had been living on and off with the disturbed couple for years. She had spinal bifida and was wheelchair-bound, hence the Social Security checks.
Police Chief Mark Barker was shocked by the scene. He said, “It was like a house of horrors for Halloween. It was awful. You could smell the body from 150 feet away … this is one of the worst cases of child neglect and child endangerment that I've seen in my 31 years here."
The couple admitted to cashing in Kain’s benefits, but denied any knowledge of her death. They said they thought she had left the home. Um … ok. They were arrested for child endangerment and for failing to report a death to the medical examiner, and La Duke is also being charged with theft of utility services.
The children are in protective custody (Thank God! Poor babies.) and Kain’s death has been deemed “suspicious.” Police ordered a toxicology report and autopsy to determine cause of death.
Did I mention ugh? Such a sad, horrible story.
Does your heart break for those kiddos?
Image via Victor/Flickr
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