2 arrested for 'horrific living conditions' at Visalia home, police say

Kassandra Gutierrez Image
Wednesday, March 27, 2024
2 arrested for 'horrific living conditions' at Visalia home, police say
Two people in Visalia are facing charges of Elder Abuse and Child Neglect after a disturbing discovery inside a home on Monday.

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Two people in Visalia are facing charges of Elder Abuse and Child Neglect after a disturbing discovery inside a home on Monday.

Police say 34-year-old Cecilia Colleen Rodriguez and 61-year-old Gregory Paul Chavez were arrested after officers visited a home on Garden Street near Race Avenue.

"It's probably one of the worst houses we have ever seen. Covered in filth. disgusting , bugs, feces everywhere," explained Liz Jones with the Visalia Police Department.

The apartment, now with a note reading, "Danger Do Not Enter" on the window, was home to four children ages 4 to 15.

A 52-year-old woman was also living here.

She was under the care of her daughter, 34-year-old Cecilia Colleen Rodriguez and Cecilia's boyfriend, 61-year-old Gregory Paul Chavez.

Police arrested the couple on Monday.

They were booked into jail on charges of elder and child abuse, and child neglect.

"Just having those horrendous conditions is just terrible, a really terrible scene for those detectives to see and imagine what those children are living through every day. It's just unfortunate," said Jones.

Visalia Police received a call after the 52-year-old was dropped off at Kaweah Health.

She was malnourished and emaciated, which sparked the criminal investigation.

Neighbors at the apartment complex on Garden Street says they've raised concerns about the unit before.

One person we spoke with didn't want to show their face and asked that we distort their voice to protect their identity.

"We just never would have imagined that the inside was even worse than the outside. If anything it's a blessing in disguise because every one who needed help got the help they needed, it's just unfortunate it took so long," the neighbor said.

The children are now in the care of Child Protectives Services.

Visalia Police are also working with Adult Protective Services.

Although they can't comment on this case, APS says there were over 2,500 referrals to the agency in 2023.

Close to 500 were regarding dependent adults, ranging in age from 18 to 59.

"That's a population that is also more vulnerable, so it's critically important we get referrals for people whenever there's concerns about people being abused," said John Mauro, Deputy Director of Adult Protective Services.

The Visalia Police Department says the investigation continues to be ongoing.

Local resources say abuse and even suspected abuse should always be reported.

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