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A trash and feces-filled home police said just 10 days ago was one of the worst they’d ever seen is now clean as a whistle and ready to be lived in.
Dozens of co-workers and members of Hope Community Church shoveled, scrubbed, cleaned and repaired a residence at 104 Beth Drive that made headlines across the region last Friday when police removed two children from the home and charged their parents, Anna Mauer and Michael Hutchens, with second-degree wanton endangerment.
The house was declared unfit to live in, and the couple had just five days to clean it or face even more charges.
Undeterred, friends from the couple’s workplace and church members got a Dumpster at the location and began simply cleaning it up.
They didn’t stop there. They also found new appliances, some furniture and were able to replace the floors, earning the residence a clean bill of health Monday afternoon.
“It’s absolutely fine now,” said Wright. “It’s amazing what they were able to do.”
Melanie Wiley, whose brother works with Hutchens and Mauer, said a call went out to the church for volunteers and about 30 showed up over the weekend to do whatever they could to help.
“They were just outstanding,” she said. “It couldn’t have been done without them pitching in.
“It was really a miniature extreme home makeover.”
Wiley said there was much more to the story than just the couple’s filthy home, which reportedly had trash piled several feet high throughout along with cat and human feces in numerous areas.
“There’s so much more behind the story,” Wiley said. “There’s a reason it got to that point.”
Wiley said Hutchens and Mauer are “horribly embarrassed and horribly ashamed” of what happened, but that they are really good people.
“Until you get to know them and know everything that has happened in their lives, you really can’t understand. They just made horrible choices and didn’t know how to ask for help.”
Wiley said they didn’t ask, even after their home was discovered by a police officer who said he was concerned about the safety of a 2-year-old child he saw in one of the home’s windows while on patrol last Friday morning.
But help came to them, anyway.
“They’re still trying to understand that people will help them,” Wiley said Monday morning. “While the house was being cleaned, Anna just kept saying ‘thank you’ every couple of minutes and couldn’t believe people were actually there, helping.
Wiley said she has no idea how the couple could have lived in such conditions.
“I can’t imagine that,” she said. “They just got into such a deep dark place they didn’t know the way out. They were embarrassed and overwhelmed.
“I didn’t know them until Saturday, but they are not bad people or lazy people. They just got into a place that I can’t imagine.”
Wiley said the couple’s children are staying with relatives and that it will take time for them to work their way through their problems.
Family services is going to stay involved and I would hope that they will continue to work with them,” she said. “Their co-workers are going to make charts for them … you have to vacuum on Mondays, etc., but they have a huge support network.”