WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The investigation continues into a house that police described as a “house of horrors” in Luzerne County. Six children were removed from the filth-strewn home last week.
Police say this was a “tragedy averted” and since our first report last week, we have received numerous calls and emails from people saying how could this have happened. Without anyone noticing?
“The conditions in there can only be summed up by saying they were deplorable,” said chief Will Clark, of the Wilkes-Barre Township Police Department.
That’s how Chief Clark described the inside of the home on Metcalf Street. Investigators say there was no heat, no running water as well as rotten food trash, and human feces all over.
A two-year-old boy had feces on his face, and six children, ages 2 to 11 were removed from the home and placed into protective custody. Their parents, Dana and Richard Rause are locked up facing child endangerment charges.
Police discovered the deplorable conditions when they responded to a domestic disturbance call there on February 21. Many people are asking, how and why these deplorable conditions were not uncovered.
Eyewitness News has confirmed the property owners, the Sedeski family, have been trying for months to evict the family. This week they were back in district court seeking an eviction order.
“This has been an ongoing issue with the Sedeski for some time. A judge granted the eviction due to the damage to the property at the point of condemnation,” stated Attorney Joseph Saporito, who represents the property owners.
Saportio represents John and Nancy Sedeski who says they had no idea what was happening inside the house
“Obviously in this situation, this is a unique situation where damage to the property the landlords did not know of the damage to the property and they were taken aback when the charges were filed against the tenants,” explained Saporito.
Saporito says under state law landlords cannot just enter a rented or leased property.
“It is extremely challenging at times especially when there are monetary damages that are on the premises and having the landlord being able to get access to the premises,” said Saporito.
Saportio says the top priority now is the welfare of the children.
“At this juncture right now in order to preserve the safety and well-being of the children it was important to secure this eviction,” explained Saporito.
Wilkes-Barre Township officials say they too could not just walk into that home. They need what’s called “probable cause” to enter any property.
Officers saw the conditions during that domestic call and then obtained a search warrant to enter the place. They say they could not believe what they were seeing and smelling once inside the home.