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PD: Child living in PHX home with bugs and rats

Posted at 1:55 PM, May 31, 2016

ABC15 has learned a Phoenix mother had 15 prior child welfare cases before police rescued her son from their filthy home last week.

The most recent case was opened in February, but a DCS spokesman would not reveal details of the case.

The interior of a north Phoenix home was so disgusting that first responders could only spend 10 minutes inside the home at a time, according to court records.

Police responded to the home of 28-year-old Vernia Elizabeth Livingston and 32-year-old Gilbert Martinez, on May 27. The landlord went inside the home to spray for bugs and found the home, "in an overwhelming state of filth and was completely infested with bed bugs, cockroaches and rats."

She contacted police knowing there was an 8-year-old child that lived there. The landlord has been close with the family for years.

"I know there is a [DCS] case open right now, so I don't know how it could get his bad and they not do something prior," said the landlord who asked not to be identified by name.

Authorities reportedly found dogs and cats chasing and eating rats at the home, near 37th Avenue and Deer Valley Road.

"The furniture, walls, ceilings and floors were so highly infested with bed bugs that in some places, the ceilings appeared to be black."

In addition, there were animals and bug feces throughout the house including the areas where the boy would eat and sleep. They also found prescription drugs and weapons right next to the child's toys.

Police say the boy was well spoken, telling them he usually feeds himself, but did not have any lunch or dinner that day. He said he didn't want DCS to be called because he likes living with his mother. DCS was called and took custody of the child.

"I hope that he gets placed in a normal home that's loving and obviously clean and not disgusting," the landlord said.

He also allegedly, told them that he doesn't shower much because the shower is broken and he lost his toothbrush.

Both adults were arrested and face preliminary charges of child abuse. They have been released from jail pending trial. A friend of the couple said the house was in disarray because the family was preparing to move. She blamed the landlord for the pest control problems.