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Condition of house leads to charges of endangering the welfare of a minor

The Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department has arrested a Thornton couple for endangering the welfare of a minor based on conditions inside their home.

The Mountain Eagle is withholding the names of the man and woman because doing so would identify the children.

Letcher County Sheriff Mickey Stines said his department went with state Social Services employees after a complaint was filed about the family. When they arrived, he said officers found loaded guns in a bedroom used by the children, exposed electrical wires, and two large knives on the floor. He said there were also bottles of pills on the floor.

“The amount of trash was unreal,” Stines said.

The children are ages 13, 9, 7 and 17 months, Stines said.

Kentucky law says a person is guilty of endangering the welfare of a minor “when he fails or refuses to exercise reasonable diligence in the control of such child to prevent him from becoming a neglected, dependent or delinquent child.”

The charge appears to stem from the state’s legal definition of a neglected child, which includes one whose parent or guardian “creates or allows to be created a risk of physical or emotional injury as defined in this section to the child by other than accidental means.”

A dependent child is one “who is under improper care, custody, control, or guardianship that is not due to an intentional act of the parent, guardian, or person exercising custodial control or supervision of the child.”

The children were removed from the home, and the parents were taken to the Letcher County Jail. The woman has since been released on a $10,000 surety bond. The man was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond on the condition that he successfully complete drug rehab and attend all of his court appearances.

The couple was originally mistaken by social media users as being involved in an incident involving methamphetamines at Letcher Middle School, but authorities say they were not involved. The person who was involved has also been arrested.

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