Couple arrested on child neglect charges

Mar. 27—ANDERSON — Two Anderson residents wanted on warrants were arrested Wednesday on neglect charges after Anderson police officers found their children living in filthy conditions.

Cristine Castro, 33, and James Johnson, 24, 1100 block of Indiana Mound Boulevard were both arrested on three felony counts of neglect of a dependent.

Bond for Castro and Johnson was set at $10,000 by Madison Circuit Court Division 1 Judge Angela Warner Sims.

During his initial court hearing Johnson said he is now residing in Middletown and plans to hire private counsel. Castro has already hired a private attorney.

According to court records, police received a tip from a neighbor who was worried about the children's safety. They told police the family's apartment was covered in feces and that a "large reptile" was living in the bathroom.

Castro said the lizard was in a cage and away from the children, but it was found in the bathtub with children's toys in close proximity.

Officer Kayla Gilley said when officers entered the apartment they noticed a strong odor and observed swarms of flies and gnats on the ceilings and walls and flying around the apartment.

Large amounts of trash were found in the apartment that appeared to have been there for some time.

All three children were wearing dirty clothes and smelled like stale urine, according to court documents.

The officers then went into the apartment's only bathroom and found the lizard living in the bathtub and the toilet "overflowing" with feces and urine.

Although Castro said a repair order was placed for the toilet, none were filed with the maintenance staff.

The three children were transported to Anderson Community Hospital where nursing staff bathed them and put them in clean diapers and clothing.

The hospital staff noticed of blotching red marks on one child from the foot to his buttocks. A young girl had a bruise on her buttock and a third had multiple marks.

All three children were removed by the Department of Child Services.

Castro appeared very puzzled and didn't understand why a welfare check on the children was taking place.

She told a DCS worker her apartment was clean and she was a "great mother."

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.