Local News

Filthy home earns Fayetteville couple neglect charges

Posted March 11, 2009 6:22 p.m. EDT
Updated March 14, 2009 9:54 a.m. EDT

— 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.