Parents charged after 3 kids found living without food, running water
MESA, Ariz. (KTVK/KPHO/Gray News) – Parents in Arizona were taken into custody after officers said they found their three children living without food or running water.
Officers also said the children were not going to school.
Katrina Johnson and Brandon Edwards were arrested Monday morning and booked on several counts of child abuse.
The investigation began in February when someone called police to report three young girls going around to neighbors’ houses and asking for food and water.
Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies went inside the family’s home to find it trashed, with no running water and very little food.
Investigators interviewed Johnson, who said she had moved the kids into the home because “they had no other options.” Court documents said Johnson also told detectives she fed her kids, enrolled them in online school, and took them to another family member’s house to bathe.
Johnson reportedly admitted the current living conditions were neglectful and said fines from the City of Mesa turned the water off. Edwards echoed the statements about the water and told detectives it had been shut off for the past few weeks.
Detectives decided to talk to the three girls about their living conditions. Two girls told investigators they had food to eat and did school online, but the third child told a different story.
According to court paperwork, the girl said she’s often hungry because her parents can’t afford to buy food and said her older sister would go to the neighbor’s houses for food and water.
Through the investigation, detectives learned two of the children had been enrolled in school but, because of excessive absences, were dropped. The third child was never enrolled in school.
Johnson was interviewed a second time and confronted about her kids’ school enrollment.
According to court paperwork, Johnson admitted to “bad choices and even pure laziness” led to the kids not attending school. She reportedly told investigators she received money from her mother but would use it to buy drugs instead of food for the kids.
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