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Filthy home earns Fayetteville couple neglect charges

Posted March 11, 2009
Updated March 14, 2009

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— Cumberland County deputies charged a local couple with child neglect after inspectors found the family living in filth, Cumberland County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Tanna said.

Leroy Thomas, 59, and Pamela Bernadette Thomas, 41, of 3628 Belridge Drive, face six counts each of child neglect.

Six children between the ages of one and 14 were living in the home, and the state Department of Social Services took custody of two of their children Tuesday. The couple have four other children, and Tanna said Leroy Thomas took those children out of state before his arrest.

A neighbor called authorities to complain about the conditions at the Thomases' mobile home, Tanna said. County inspectors found severe health and safety issues in the home, including septic tank/sewer system failure, structural deterioration, exposed electrical wiring, evidence of cockroach infestation and piles of garbage, moldy food and dirty clothes.

"They were absolutely stunned when the went inside the home," Tanna said. "They said there were cockroaches, and they were afraid to stand still for long periods of time for fear that the cockroaches would walk over their shoes.

"There was feces on the wall. There was garbage in the bathtub. The area in the living room had a clothesline in the middle of the floor," she continued.

Pamela Thomas was being held Thursday in the Cumberland County Detention Center on a $5,000 secured bond. Leroy Thomas was out of jail on a $5,000 secured bond.


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  • kittiboo Mar 12, 2009

    It does seem to be a choice for many people to live like this. I used to babysit for a very rich OB doctor who had 2 spoiled girls. Their house was a PIGSTY. I hated being over there, and I would always try to clean up a bit when I could. But they saw nothing wrong with it. The mom was mentally ill (and had recently moved out to a house behind the big house because they were separating) and the dad was busy, but they could have EASILY afforded to hire someone to clean for them. They had several Persian cats who were so poorly treated- their fur was a mass of mats, and they were confined to one room that had been floored in laminate (they had to take the carpet out because it was ruined). That room REEKED and the whole house was rotten, too. The kids had no sense of taking care of anything- their toys were piled up in the floor, many broken, but daddy would just buy them NEW things.
    These situations are so sad to me.

  • Adelinthe Mar 12, 2009

    FamilyFour -

    I was also wondering if it was a rented home.

    We've lived in one for ovr 12 years and the landlord has yet to do a lick of repairs. If we don't do it ourselves, it doesn't get done, and after a while, one gets depressed by never getting any help with repairs, especially by the one who owns the home.

    God bless.


  • Adelinthe Mar 12, 2009

    xarabelle -

    Please call CPS or the Health Department. Your in-laws are not only endangering their daughter, they're endangering themselves with their living quarters.

    I believe one can call anonymously if your concerned about family troubles or retaliation.

    But please call. k

    God bless.


  • TallWillow Mar 12, 2009

    Xarabelle--don't just contemplate calling Child Protective Services, do it. It sounds like these people (your in-laws as well as the couple in the story) have problems, and both they and their child need help.

  • XARABELLE Mar 12, 2009

    My heart goes out to this family...it's something I will never understand. My "in-laws" are like this and they have a 15 year old daughter. Poor girl stays away from home as much as possible. Her friends have told me that she smells funny, but they know it's not her fault. I wouldn't even go in there when I got preggers and have yet to re-enter three years later. I have often contemplated calling child services...holes in the floor, trash everywhere, stacks of who knows what up to the cielings, mold creeping up the walls, and who knows what in the world that smell is!

  • Weetie Mar 12, 2009

    My mother once told me that "If filth would kill you, this earth would have alot less people on it."

    And it is true. I have seen some nasty apartments (where I work) and there is no way I could let one of my animals live there - much less my child. It is soooo sad...

  • TheAdmiral Mar 12, 2009

    "They want to defy authority with an "in your face" attitude about everything. I see it in their children every day. They spend a lot of energy NOT doing what is right just so that they can defy logic and show their "power."'

    I have family just like this - their house is in shambles - they are lucky to find their cat, their son's room looks like Tornado Alley - and yet they think they know how to run everything and not take responsibility for their own.

    It is called RAD. They will insert their opinion in everything and when they come across the wrong person they get their head handed to them.

    They thing everyone else is wrong, and they are the ones who are right, and they simply don't care.

    It is called a mental disorder.

  • thnkb4uspk Mar 12, 2009

    Sometimes I think that these behaviors - neglecting their children, living in filth - are quite simply acts of rebellious, redneck arrogance. (I know it well...I grew up in rural North Carolina) They want to defy authority with an "in your face" attitude about everything. I see it in their children every day. They spend a lot of energy NOT doing what is right just so that they can defy logic and show their "power." It's just sick...and the children are caught in a cycle of poverty and ignorance. Usually, their animals live better than their children. I am tired of complaining; what can we DO to help these neglected and abused children???????

  • rebekah816 Mar 12, 2009

    I've had a friend (no longer) that lived in worse conditions and it was not because they were that poor. It was the way they chose to live their lives. They have 3 children, have had up to 20 dogs and cats at a time and the dogs eat better than the kids!!! They have had social services called on them years ago and out of friendship my family went and helped them to get their house in order so that they would not have their kids taken away. Thing is, after that, they went back to living just the way they always had. They have destroyed a brand new home...an older, lovely farm house that had stood for 100 years before they got hold of it...and are now in the process of destroying her grandmother's house that was left to her. It's absolutely disgusting!!! The cats and dogs leave their 'marks' all over the house and you know what she does? Sprinkles baking soda over it and leaves it where it sits!!!

    I no longer have anything to do with them...they're toxic!!!

  • familyfour Mar 12, 2009

    oh yeah....six kids....can they REALLY afford six kids?????