Family Speaks Out About Boy’s Death At Squalid Home

BERWYN, Ill. (CBS) — It was an extreme case of animal hoarding. There were hundreds of animals living inside a Berwyn house.

A teenager was found dead there and now, as CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports, for the first time, the family is revealing why they never called for help.

Lydia Price, 47, who’s been charged with neglect in the death of her 14-year-old son, Matthew Degner, was not ready to talk about the charges, but her 77-year-old mother, Barbara, who lived with the family, is sharing their story.

Barbara Price says their lives since the boy’s death have been “horrid.”

“We’ve had not time for grief for Matthew with all the assaults and falsifications,” she said.

She denies that the boy’s body was dragged from the house into the back yard so that police would not go into the house.

“They went into the house anyway,” she says. “That’s stupid. He was taken outside to get oxygen.”

When authorities went inside, they say they found hundreds of animals. In addition to 200 cats, there were kinkajoos, a brown bat, a 150 pound raccoon, a lemur, rats, squirrels and dogs. They say there was animal waste throughout the house and that the five children living there were caked with filth and feces.

Barbara Price says her daughter’s husband began bringing the creatures into the house after picking them up at swap meets. Once he went to prison, she says the family could not afford to take care of them or clean the place up.

She denies the place was unhealthy. “I came from Minneapolis Minnesota many years ago, from a hog farm” she says. “I know what filth is. If we lived here all these years, how come suddenly its deadly? Shouldn’t we have died long ago?”

Her grandson Matthew did die in the house, a victim of bronchial pneumonia.

His four young siblings are now in the custody of DCFS.

Lydia Price, their mother, is due for another court hearing on Thursday.

  • Tanya Livingston

    A judge and jury will believe this? Hogs live in a barn or a confinement. Somebody did die here, so your arguement falls. There was medical neglect, abuse substantiail risk of physical injury, neglect care necessary and enviornomet injurious. Screen this baby on an expedited TPR. DCFS shouldn’t even waste money offering reunification services on this one. Hello, family members, a child is dead here. Wake up hello

  • OMG

    Her grandson died because of the filth he had to live in. Ok so grandma lived on a hog farm, were the hogs raised inside of her home?

    I can’t believe anybody can even START to downplay the disgusting conditions found inside that home, the children were covered with animal filth.

    The children were held captive in that home….never allowed outside, never went to school, never saw a doctor, never had any friends. The children slept on the floor because the animals were put into the children’s bedrooms.

    I can’t see how any officials let this slide until a death had to occur. Neighbors didn’t nothing anything? Mail delivery?

    You talk about a nightmare. Think of how many others like this are out there right now.

  • Ghost Stories › Family Of Berwyn Teen Found Dead In Animal Hoarder’s Home Speaks Out

    […] Even if Lydia Price, the 47-year-ancient mother who was charged with criminal abuse and neglect of a disabled person and endangerment of a child, has yet to respond to the accusations, her 77-year-ancient mother, Barbara told CBS 2 the days since the death of 14-year-….” […]

  • smith

    Has anyone looked into a way of reaching out and helping the kids ?
    It would be nice that the kids knew other people besides family really cares about them. Also I beleive the kids who lived through this must be great kids
    after all its living a hrad life that build character.

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