Police: 212 animals found in Berwyn home after boy's death

Photo of Lydia Price, 49. (Berwyn Police Department)
September 12, 2011 10:23:37 AM PDT
The mother of a boy who was found dead in a home overrun with more than 200 animals including birds, cats, a bat and raccoon, faces charges in the case.

Lydia Price, 47, faces two felony counts of criminal abuse and neglect of a disabled person, and three misdemeanor counts of endangerment of the health of a child. Emergency crews were called to the Berwyn home of Price when her 14-year-old son, Matthew Denger, was unresponsive on September 8. He was pronounced dead at MacNeal Hospital.

Those responders found the home was filled with 212 animals, including dogs, cats, birds, bats, squirrels, rats, birds, rabbits, a large raccoon, mice, cockroaches, and others, including kinkajous. Officials say all 109 cats and several other animals were euthanized because of their health or for potential diseases that could be transferred to humans.

"Due to the discovery of deplorable living conditions at the residence, the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office requested the house to be sealed pending autopsy examination," the Berwyn Police Department said in a statement.

Denger's death was determined to be natural, according to the Medical Examiner. His four siblings -- 12, 16, 17 and 18 years old -- were taken into the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services. They, and their grandmother, were found to be living in feces and had animal bite marks.

    Price faces several charges:
  • One Class 2 felony count of Criminal Neglect of a Disabled Child resulting in death
  • One Class 3 felony count of Criminal Neglect of a Disabled Child - not resulting in death
  • Four Misdemeanor charges of Endangering the Life of a Child
  • One Misdemeanor count of Companion Animal Hoarding
  • One Misdemeanor count of Cruel Treatment

Price will be in court on September 12.


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