BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Buffalo Police officers were shocked and disturbed Monday evening, when they found three young children in bad shape on the city’s west side.
The apartment on 15th Street was more like a dungeon; there was no food, and there was trash everywhere. Police say the children were sitting in their own urine and feces, and appeared to emaciated.
“It was one of the more horrific things they’ve come across. It was really particularly disturbing for them,” said B-District Chief Joseph Gramaglia of the Buffalo Police Department.
“All the officers and detectives that were there, they all have children. And it hits you that much harder,” he told News 4.
The apartment the kids were found in was around 90 degrees.
Neighbors tell us they never saw the children outside playing. Some didn’t even know kids lived here.
One neighbor, who lives in the same building, said he is “shocked and appalled” by this discovery. He told us he often heard the children crying, since they moved in about a month ago.
“We don’t know long they were left by themselves but clearly the conditions of this house, this apartment, has been going on for quite some time. There definitely was a failure to thrive,” Chief Gramaglia said.
The oldest child didn’t appear to be speaking yet.
Parents of at least two of the children, 26-year-old Terrell Hagans and 24-year-old Maureen Fabre will be in court July 19th.
They’re facing three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a misdemeanor.
Family Law Attorney Randy Margulis said the family court system is designed to keep families together.
“Although nobody certainly condones neglectful or abusive conduct, they do try to give those types of parents in those situations some benefit of the doubt,” Margulis told News 4.
That doesn’t mean the judge will excuse the parents, but that they’ll likely look at underlying causes of the neglect.
Margulis said every neglect case is treated differently, but family separation is usually a last resort.
News 4 learned Fabre works at the Walden Galleria. She told police she left the children alone for long periods of time to work, and claims the Hagans wasn’t doing his part.
All three of those children spent the night in the hospital for observation.