Lori Fullbright, News On 6
DEWEY, Oklahoma -- A Washington County couple surrendered Wednesday after a warrant was issued for them because of their filthy home. Police say the couple has been warned repeatedly, but their three children are still living in home littered with rotten food, rat droppings and bugs.
Police say the house had no working refrigerator, no working toilet, and there was lice and other bugs everywhere. They say the parents are affectionate toward the children, but just refuse to provide them with a decent place to live.
Sergeant Tim Stringer came to this house about a month ago to serve a warrant on a convicted child abuser who was a houseguest, who was accused of exposing himself to a child who had spent the night.
When Sergeant Stringer smelled and saw the conditions of the house, he was fed up.
"There was rotten food laying on the floor. The refrigerator was no longer working, and they've moved all the food out and stacked it on the floor," said Sergeant Tim Stringer of the Dewey Police Department.
Sergeant Stringer says Department of Human Services workers have been very diligent; in fact, they have been to the house 12 times in the past nine years. He says, each time, the children are removed to a relative's home and the parents are coached and trained. Then once the house is liveable, the children are returned.
But, he says, after a period of time, it would go right back to the way it was.
"I've been a police officer since 1984. This house is in the top five of the filthiest houses I've ever been in," Stringer said.
The children, ages 2, 7 and 9, are the ones suffering. Police say at some point, the parents must be held accountable, which is why David and Heather Frenchman now each face a felony count of child neglect.
"They've been educated; they've been offered services; they've been counseled; they've been warned and all attempts to avoid what we're doing today have failed, so now, what are we left with?" Stringer asked.
The couple has been released on bond.