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Used toilet paper piled several feet high around a toilet.
Several inches of what appeared to be animal feces in the kitchen sink and literally coating the kitchen counters.
Trash, including expired food items dating back to 2009, piled waste high in nearly every room of the house.
Live and dead animals, including what appeared to be a decomposing cat.
Those are just a sample of what police found last Friday morning when an officer made a safety check at 104 Beth Drive.
Police removed and arrested Michael W. Hutchens, 24, and Anna G. Mauer, 24, and placed their 2-year-old child into protective custody. Police also placed in protective custody Mauer’s 6-year-old daughter, who was not at home when police arrived.
Mauer and another man are co-owners of the property, according to documents on file at the Anderson County Property Value Administrator’s office.
Hutchens and Mauer were charged with second-degree wanton endangerment and transported to the Shelby County Detention Center. They posted bond and were released Saturday morning.
Both are employed and work night shifts, police said.
Lawrenceburg Police officer Clay Crouch was on patrol around 8:30 a.m. when he said he saw the 2-year-old looking out of one of the home’s front windows.
Crouch said he was concerned about the child’s safety and, when he approached the house, a stench unlike any he’d ever smelled hit him before he got to the door.
Crouch said he knocked, but Mauer, the child’s mother, refused to open the door for about 10 minutes.
“I told her if she didn’t open the door I’d kick it down,” Crouch said Friday evening. “I was very concerned about the child’s safety.”
Crouch said he had to push on the door to get inside because several feet of trash and a large piece of furniture were blocking it.
Once inside he said he was shocked at the conditions, particularly with a child involved.
“I immediately called child protective services and told them to bring a mask,” he said.
They arrived and joined officers wearing surgical facemasks and protective clothing while they waded through unthinkable piles of human and animal feces, and piles of rotting, stinking trash.
‘Like a dump’
When he emerged just before noon on Friday wearing a face mask, Detective Mike Schell of the Lawrenceburg Police Department was asked to describe what it was like inside.
“Have you ever seen an episode of ‘Hoarders?” he responded. “It’s the worse I’ve seen in 20 years doing this.”
Asked to describe how the house smells, Schell said, “Rotting trash … like a dump.”
And with good reason. Those with knowledge of what was inside ticked off disturbing examples of what they saw.
Along with 4 to 5 feet of used toilet paper in a bathroom that has running water, they found clothing that had been used for the same purpose.
In the kitchen, animal feces nearly filled the sink, which had a large skillet shoved sideways into the feces along with dishes.
The counters were also covered in what appeared to be animal feces, which had run onto the cabinets below.
In one bedroom, what appeared to be human feces was piled up and smeared on a wall. Right next to the pile were what appeared to be used tampons.
Trash in the master bedroom was roughly 4 feet high, despite two empty trash cans in front of the home. The couple’s mattress laid at an angle on top of several feet of trash.
In what appeared to be a child’s bedroom trash was at least 2 feet high and the floor wasn’t visible.
In another room lay the body of what appeared to be a dead cat. Police also reportedly found a dead rat, along with live pet rats in the house.
Asked how the family was able to move around when there was so much trash piled up that they couldn’t even see the floors, Crouch said, “They were walking around in there barefooted, on top of the trash.”
Crouch said food items were strewn everywhere. He said there was an untold number of pizza boxes and fast food wrappers piled several feet high.
In the living room was a ham that had expired in 2011, along with the family’s Christmas tree that had yet to be taken down.
How did this go unnoticed?
Police and health officials say they have no records of previous calls at the residence, and one neighbor said she didn’t know anyone lived there at all.
Ama Lovins, who lives two doors away on Ann Drive, said she thought the house was abandoned.
She said another neighbor took down the couple’s pool and deck around a year ago.
“I thought they had moved out,” she said, adding that she and other family members have walked past the house countless times but never smelled anything bad.
Lovins added that she also has never seen a school bus stop there, including when she’s outside putting her own grandchild on the bus.
“I’ve never even seen children play over there,” she said.
What she has seen, though, are stray cats coming and going.
“I’ve never seen a rat, but I see feral cats living in the sewer going toward that house, along with kittens,” she said.
A spokesperson for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services said the agency does not confirm its involvement in cases involving children, and would not provide information if agency officials have ever received complaints about the residence.
Public Health Director Tim Wright walked through the home Friday and declared it unfit to live in.
Lawrenceburg Fire Chief Robert Hume also inspected the property, which was structurally sound and did not need to be condemned.
Wright issued a five-day notice to abate, which gave Mauer and Hutchens that amount of time to clean the home once they were released from jail.
Wright said Monday that means they have until this Friday to get it cleaned.
If they don’t comply they face further code violations and potential fines.