Officials said they discovered a child covered in bug bites inside a filthy Indiana home on Christmas Day and arrested a man, according to reports.
Michael Ford, the suspect, called the police to his home in Evansville as be believed his ex-wife or ex-girlfriend had stolen his daughter’s Christmas presents, 14News reported.
But when officers walked into his home, they discovered several types of insects crawling through the house. They were on the walls, furniture, the floor, and on decorations. The home also smelled like urine, and they discovered dog feces under the Christmas tree and on the floor, the report said.
A dead mouse was discovered in the middle of the kitchen, and counters were covered in dirty dishes along with rotting food. The only edible food in the home was canned food.
Officers also said mattresses in the home had bugs crawling over them. Trash was also scattered on the floor.
Officers talked to Ford, and they discovered a knife sheath on his waist. They asked him to remove it, but they spotted bugs all over the knife and noticed Ford was covered in insect bites.
Ford allegedly told police that officials with the Department of Child Services opened a case and were investigating him. The 14News report suggested child services asked him to clean up his house when they visited him, but he hadn’t done so.
Ford’s daughter told officers that bugs bite her all the time. Officers said she was covered in bug bites. “She says she tries to brush them off her bed the best she can,” 14News said.
The Department of Child Services was contacted to take the child, and Animal Control officers removed two dogs from Fords’ bug-infested home, 14News reported.
Ford has since been released from the Vanderburgh County Jail after he was arrested, according to TriStateHomePage.
In the incident, police were called to a home in the 600 block of East Florida Street for a “burglary in progress ” on Christmas, according to the website.
Evansville is a city on the Ohio River in Indiana with a population of about 110,000.
How to Report Suspected Child Maltreatment
To find out where to call, consult the State Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Numbers website.
The Childhelp organization also can provide crisis assistance and other counseling and referral services. Contact them at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).
“Every year more than 3.6 million referrals are made to child protection agencies involving more than 6.6 million children (a referral can include multiple children),” according to Childhelp.