CHICAGO (CBS) — Nine children were found living in squalor inside a home with no heat, no food, and no parents in sight in the Englewood neighborhood on Sunday.
The kids were taken to Comer Children’s Hospital for evaluations after being removed from the home, but none appeared to be in serious medical danger.
Chicago police said officers were called to a home in the 900 block of West 59th Street shortly before 1 p.m., when they were notified of a child allegedly left alone. Once inside, they found nine children, ranging in age from an infant to a teenager.
The two-flat has several broken windows, but no heat, and police said there was no food for the children to eat.
“We have never seen those children. We did not know they were hungry. We did not know they were being neglected,” said Apostle Willie Shears, with God’s Divine Glory Ministry, a church located just steps from the home. “We were totally unaware, and it’s a shock to us. We would have reached out. We would have helped them in any way that we could have helped them.”
The children were taken into protective custody.
“At one time, there were families in that building, and they were outgoing, they was doing food, they was doing barbecues at night, they was literally partying and everything. So it seemed as if there was nothing wrong,” Shears said.
Parents in the neighborhood were in disbelief.
“To see something like this, it hurts me and my family. I wish I would have known. Maybe we could have came together and helped the family,” Nick Brown said.
Sources said multiple families live inside the home.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said it is investigating the parents for allegations of neglect. The children were being placed with family members under a DCFS-monitored safety plan.
DCFS confirmed the kids are children of two mothers, and range in age from 3 months to 17 years.
A man who claimed to be the father of some of the children denied any allegations of neglect.
Detectives have questioned at least one person in connection with the case, but as of Monday morning there have been no arrests.