Police originally responded to the home on St. Paul Street on August 28 when a woman called 911 concerned for the well-being of the children. While there, police found marijuana growing in the basement, where 37-year-old Ramon Rivera was reportedly living. They filed charges against him. The details of the state of the house and children living there come from that report.Blackstone Police Lieutenant Gregory Gilmore described the home as in a state of "filth and deterioration." Gilmore said a 5-month old baby and 3-year-old toddler were in the care of a 10-year-old child for more than six hours.
"The two younger children were in a deplorable physical state that included an unchanged diaper on the 5 month old and fecal matter covering large portions of the 3 year old," Gilmore wrote. The toddler had feces on both her face and shirt, according to the police report.
The younger children were in a separate section of the home, and left unattended until officers arrived. In a room across the hall, officers found dirty diapers and piles of trash. In the kitchen, dirty dishes were piled in the sink, while dirty clothes littered the floor.
After seeing the conditions of the home, police removed all four children living there, ranging in age from 5 months old to 13 years old, and placed them under the care of the Department of Children and Families.
Erika Murray, 31, the children's mother, admitted to police that all four children were hers, but said that she had not told anyone, including family members or her older children, that the two younger children were hers, because she wasn't planning on having the two younger children and could not afford to have them.
Two weeks later, when working to decontaminate the home, officials found the remains of three dead infants.
Last week, Murray was arraigned and held without bail on charges of fetal death concealment, witness intimidation, permitting substantial injury to a child and more. Rivera, her live-in boyfriend who lived in the basement of the home, has been summonsed to court related to the marijuana charges. Murray told police she hadn't been to the basement in five months.
Over the weekend, cleanup crews worked long hours to rid the house of its hazardous debris. On Sunday, the crew found the bodies of an additional dog and cat among the detritus. By Sunday afternoon, workers could be seen tossing bags of trash from a second floor window into a dumpster below.
Blackstone Town Administrator Dan Keyes said he originally thought the house would need 12 biohazard containers to remove everything from the house, but the number had climbed to close to 30.
"They're not just cleaning the place now, they're removing structurally out of there. we thought maybe a floor. Now you're talking about a ceiling and some walls," Keyes said.
The owner of the house, Kristina Rivera, believed to be the sister of Ramon Rivera, the boyfriend of Erika Murray, responsible for all of the cost for the clean up and decontamination, estimated as of Monday to cost $40,000.
"It was horrific. There's a lot of debris. Some rooms you couldn't go into due to the amount of debris; diapers and everything like that," said Bill Walsh, the town's board of health director. "It was pretty bad."
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