CHICAGO (CBS) — An unlicensed residential mental health facility in south suburban Dixmoor was recently evacuated, after police discovered a bedbug infestation and filthy living conditions.
Dixmoor Police Chief Ron Burge said staff at The Mother’s House was nowhere to be found when officers arrived at the facility at 141st and Leavitt early Friday morning.
Police initially responded to Mother’s House because of complaints there was no hot water. Clients also reported they were locked inside with no staff.
Investigators confirmed they couldn’t find anyone who worked at the facility when they arrived. Burge said, not only were disabled patients left unattended, they also were left living in deplorable conditions. “There were bedbugs on the walls, on the floors, mattresses on the floor,” he said.
Police say before its evacuation, the facility was home to about 35 people.
“I’ve had my share of bites on my legs,” 22-year-old Bailey Pontius said of his two month stay at The Mother’s House alongside his mom, Angie Britch. “Ambulances took us all to a hospital. They had us took our clothes off and wash ourselves with rags with chemicals on them.”
In addition to the sparse staff, he says the facility had irregular therapy sessions and didn’t dispense his medication properly.
The Village of Dixmoor issued a notice for the facility to cease business immediately. The building next to it was also boarded up Monday.
The Illinois Department of Public Health said The Mothers House is not a licensed mental health care facility, and the state was not aware it was operating. The department has launched an investigation into what types of services the facility offered, and which state agency should regulate it.
Furthermore, a source familiar with the investigation says police are now looking into past and present elected officials, their family members, and their possible financial links to the business.
Police are also requesting other law enforcement agencies to assist in what is becoming more of a criminal investigation. No criminal charges have been filed at this time.
“It makes me mad it. I want answers. I want them punished to the full extent of the law,” Britch said.
Those that were taken out of the facility are now in clean, safe temporary or permanent homes.
The Mother’s House has not responded to CBS 2’s request for comment.