An Alaska couple faces serious child neglect charges after it was discovered that their daughters were kept in virtually unlivable conditions.
The parents kept the children in the basement of a decrepit, “mold-filled” house without heat or power while the couple stayed in a makeshift camper in the driveway.
Timothy Hogan and Patricia Haugstad-Hogan of Anchorage were charged with misdemeanor counts of child neglect as well as contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The couple was arrested in March but were released on bail.
The charging documents said that the parents were living in a camper in the driveway when the girls fled their living conditions and reported them to the local authorities. These documents lso said that the girls have never been to school and that they felt “trapped.” The older girl was age 18 while the younger was 16 at the time of the report.
It’s still uncertain whether the girls were forcibly kept in the basement of the house. Anchorage police have yet to divulge more information apart from the court pages. Prosecutors were also reluctant to respond to comments.
Christy Lawton, director of the state Office of Children’s Services, said in an email that the two girls did not return to the home after they appeared in the Covenant House on Dec. 24, an organization that provides resources to the homelss teens. Lawton said that her office worked closely with police and the Covenant House throughout the investigation. Her agency also held full custody of the girls in early January, according to Lawton.
Reached outside the home Wednesday, Haugstad-Hogan said she wasn’t at liberty to comment on the case. The couple’s attorney, Jon Buchholdt, also declined to discuss it. Haugstad-Hogan, who was reached at her home on Wednesday, she said that she “wasn’t at liberty to comment on the case.” The couple’s attorney, Jon Buchholdt, said that he would not discuss the matter.
In the criminal complaint, Anchorage police Detective Will Cameron wrote that the sisters lived in the basement for roughly five years and told him they “have no opportunity to meet friends, socialize or contact outside family members within the Anchorage area.” The girls said they had not had heat since May 2015, according to the detective.
The court documents said police searched the house in late January and found it “in complete filth.” Cameron wrote the house was filled with garbage, so much so that there it almost reached the ceiling. Yellow mold was found along the kitchen ceiling, and black mold was found in every room.
The couple is scheduled to appear in court May 16.