POLICE: Six children found in "deplorable" vacant home - WDRB 41 Louisville News

POLICE: Six children found in "deplorable" vacant home

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Christopher Strickland (Source: Louisville Metro Corrections) Christopher Strickland (Source: Louisville Metro Corrections)
Debra Combs (Source: Louisville Metro Corrections) Debra Combs (Source: Louisville Metro Corrections)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Two people have been arrested after police say they found six children -- ages 4 to 11 -- in a vacant home, living in "deplorable" conditions.

According to arrest reports, officers were called to a home on Bank Street, near the intersection with N. 19th Street, early Tuesday morning on a report of a break-in. When police arrived, they discovered the family living in what Carey Klain of L.M.P.D. describes as "filthy" conditions. "The door had been kicked open, and there was an adult male and female along with six children inside the home."

Police say Christopher Strickland, 33, and Debra Combs, 32, were staying in the home with her six young children, aged 4-11. "When the officers arrived, the children were on the floor, sleeping in deplorable conditions,"said Klain.

A police report paints a picture of a filthy environment describing the house as "covered in flies and trash" and even saying "they were using a bowl as their bathroom."

WDRB talked to several neighbors--none of whom wanted to be named--who say the family was often seen in the neighborhood. They also say the mother was evicted from her apartment for not paying rent and was recently denied access to a homeless shelter.

Police say that is no excuse, however. Officers with L.M.P.D. say they had provided Combs with shelter information in their past encounters with her. They did not specify what those encounters were regarding.

"Unfortunately people get in situations where people don't have a place of their own but there are plenty of shelters and plenty of people in the city they can get that information," said Klain.

The children are now staying in the Home of the Innocents, while their mother and step dad sit in Metro Corrections.

Combs and Strickland each face six counts of wanton endangerment. Strickland faces one count of second degree burglary.

Court records show that Strickland has a shady past. In 1995--at the age of 16--he was charged with murder. By 1997, the charged was amended to facilitating murder. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

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