A 35-year-old mother has been arrested after authorities said they found her eight children living in filth.
Juanita M. Sykes, also known as Juanita White, was booked into jail on Monday after an arrest warrant was issued, police said Tuesday. She faces eight charges for abandoning her children. There are municipal, not felony, charges.
On March 2, police went to her home along with municipal code inspectors. The city had received a tip that the home in the 3300 block of Jackson Avenue was a problem.
City officials determined that the home wasn't fit for humans. The small two-bedroom home, covered in feces, only had two mattresses, one of which was also covered in animal feces, according to court documents. Several neighbors complained to police that there were approximately 300 pounds of garbage thrown into the back yard.
All of Sykes' eight children, ranging in ages from 7 to 14 years old, were living inside the home. There were four boys and four girls.
Investigators said the house had no running water or heat, and there was standing water in all the sinks and basement, authorities said. Their investigation also found that the refrigerator was full of mold and bugs, and the freezer was completely empty of food and covered with bugs, according to a police report.
One neighbor said she tried to help Sykes and provided trash bags, but to no avail. She said the home was an incredible eyesore to the neighborhood.
"The whole backyard was a pure mess," the neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said. "We tried to help her, but she wasn't concerned. It's sad that she didn't care about the kids to that extent. That's filth."
Police said they conducted a search of two hotels for Sykes and could not located her. They also made several phone calls to friends and family.
Officers had originally gone to the home on Feb. 4 and discovered seven children home alone. The mother was in jail at the time. The great uncle, who lives nearby, took control of the kids. He would later tell police that he let the kids "stay with him on and off to take baths and eat."
When police contacted Sykes' great uncle he said that he has not seen her for about a week, and when he did she was high on drugs.
The two older children told police that they took care of themselves and the other children. They said their mother visited them on Feb. 28 and gave them $40. She then left, according to the police report.
Social workers for the state of Missouri removed all eight children, where they are currently in protective custody.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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