PLAINS TWP., LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Luzerne County investigators are charging a mother after they say five children were found home alone for multiple weeks, living in deplorable conditions.

According to the Plains Township Police Department, on July 22 officers were called to a home on North River Street to assist a Luzerne County Children and Youth caseworker.

Police say the caseworker received a complaint that five children have been living at their home without any contact from their mother, Erica Skalsky, 38, of New York.

Investigators said the children’s father, who lives in Flordia, stated his 18-year-old son, who suffers from Autism and a physical disability, was left in charge of the rest of the children for weeks and had no means of buying food for his siblings.

Officers stated when they entered the home, there was a strong odor of rotten food, the floor was sticky, two dead rats were lying near a toilet, and the kitchen had moldy food and cockroaches running across the countertop.

Five children, ages 7, 8, 10, 11, and 14, told investigators Skalsky had not been home in two or more weeks, as stated in the affidavit. All of the minors were taken into protective custody.

According to court documents, police spoke with Skalsky who admitted to “leaving her children unattended at times but did not think it was ever for ten consecutive days.”

Skalsky has been charged with endangering the welfare of children.