EXETER BOROUGH – Authorities in Luzerne County said the search for a woman wanted in connection to a burglary led to the discovery of two young children sleeping in deplorable conditions.
According to court documents, Jennifer Wilcox was charged with child endangerment by Exeter Borough police, as well as burglary charges filed by Pittston City Police, for a separate alleged crime.
According to Exeter Borough Police Chief John McNeil, officers in Pittston requested assistance on an arrest warrant for Wilcox on Wednesday night.
When officers started looking for her, her ex-boyfriend told police that she was staying with her mother.
McNeil told Newswatch 16 that officers later found Wilcox and Kyle McKay inside her apartment on Schooley Avenue in Exeter, which had dog feces on the floor, mold covered food on the counters, as well as garbage and cat food on the floor.
Police said a 3-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl were found sleeping in an upstairs bedroom in diapers and that Children and Youth Services were unable to find any clean clothes for the toddlers in the apartment.
"We arrested Kyle McKay for harboring and concealing (Wilcox) whereabouts,” said McNeil. "They were given to the defendant Wilcox's mother. It will be up to Luzerne County housing to evaluate the condition of the apartment and find out when it's suitable for someone to return there."
McNeil said Wilcox and McKay are facing charges of child endangerment, as well as a charge for having suspected drug paraphernalia in the house.
A neighbor who lives in a nearby building in the housing complex said she doesn’t know Wilcox but she’s disappointed that she didn’t ask other mothers in the neighborhood for help.
"It's very sad, I mean, you've got to take care of your kids. That's what I do,” said Nichole Bryan. "I wish I would have known. I would have helped if I could. I have extra kids’ clothes and stuff.”
According to court documents, Wilcox and McKay were released on unsecured bail.