WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Eyewitness News is learning more about what police are calling a “house of filth” in Luzerne County.
Two weeks ago, six children were removed from the house in Wilkes-Barre Township and investigators say it had no running water, no food, and trash and human feces were thrown all over the place.
The sister of the mother charged in the case tells Eyewitness News her sister was afraid to call the police, claiming she feared her husband.
“So we weren’t really aware of the extent of the conditions or anything that was really going on to the extent because he pretty much isolated her from the family and got her away from everyone like he wanted to,” said Heather Lardner, Dana Rause’s sister.
Dana Rause, along with her 38-year-old husband Richard Rause (pictured below) are both facing child endangerment charges in connection with the conditions inside this home on rear Metcalf Street in Wilkes-Barre Township.
Both were arrested on Tuesday, February 21 after police say they discovered deplorable conditions inside the home.
Investigators say there was no running water, trash, and human feces all over the house, there was no food in the home and a two-year-old boy had feces on his face.
Police responded to the house that day after Dana Rause called to complain that her husband was sleeping in a car in the driveway. At the time, the pair was separated.
Lardner says her sister never told them what was going on. She has since learned her sister feared her husband.
“So she never really told us the extent of what was going on. So we weren’t aware and he wasn’t allowing her to really speak with me as well up until November of 2022. So that’s after they split up,” said Lardner.
But even then, Lardner says she didn’t say much about the conditions inside the home.
From an outsider’s view, Including the extended family, everything seemed normal.
“Those kids, you know, she would always send us pictures of them always in clean clothes. They always looked clean, I never thought anything of it,” explained Lardner.
Eyewitness News spoke with Tammy Rogers, an Education Counselor at the Domestic Violence Service Center in Luzerne County. She could not comment specifically about the Rause Investigation saying they are not involved in that case. But, she did say, generally speaking, that people in abusive relationships oftentimes are afraid to come forward.
“With domestic violence victims a lot of time they will keep the abuse quiet and not tell anybody,” said Rogers.
Rogers, again not commenting specifically on the Rause investigation, says safety is almost always a factor in domestic violence cases.
“In order to make sure that everybody else is safe the victim will put their safety at risk and their own well being you know to make sure everybody else is safe, so unfortunately that is one of the issues we deal with,” added Rogers.
Wilkes-Barre Township Police say they responded to two domestic calls at the house in all of 2022 and those calls had to do with property disputes as part of the couple’s pending divorce. There were no calls for physical abuse.
Eyewitness News has been unable to contact Richard Rause or his family for comment. He remains locked up unable to post $50,000 bail.
Dana Rause also remains behind bars on $250,000 bail. Both will have a hearing to face the charges against them in several weeks.