Children found living in squalor

March 22, 2012 12:14:20 PM PDT
A couple from Chicago's Little Village neighborhood is charged with child endangerment after authorities say they discovered three young children living in filthy conditions as they investigated the death of a 6-month old boy.

Detectives are continuing to investigate the couple, who have each been charged with misdemeanor child endangerment after the death of the infant son led authorities to find three other children allegedly living in squalor.

Investigators say the couple has not been charged in connection with the death of the infant son.

Residents who live in this Southwest Side neighborhood don't know what to think after police accused the couple of neglecting their children.

"They were always around naked and dirty, by themselves," said witness Guadelupe Guerrero through a translator.

It happened in the 2500-block of South Spaulding Avenue.

Police said they began investigating 23-year-old Esmerelda Romero and 27-year-old Melito Perez after the couple's 6-month old son was brought to an area hospital unresponsive.

The boy was later pronounced dead. That's when officers, following up on the initial death investigation, arrived at the home and allegedly found the couple's three other children in deplorable conditions.

Investigators claim the apartment was infested with roaches, and that the unit's floors were smeared with waste, and rotting food was in the refrigerator.

Authorities say the two boys, ages 3 and 1, and a 4-year-old girl had bug bites on their arms and legs.

Officials with the Department of Children and Family Services say the children have been placed with relatives.

The couple is due back in court next month.