PUNXSUTAWNEY BOROUGH, Pa. (EYT) – Two Punxsutawney residents are facing hearings this week on felony child endangerment charges based on an incident where police found two young children injured and living in “filthy” and “unsanitary” conditions.
Court documents indicate 42-year-old Jason Lee Myers, Sr. and 29-year-old Kayla Lynn Barnett, both of Punxsutawney, are scheduled to stand for preliminary hearings in front of Magisterial District Judge Jacqueline J. Mizerock at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 3.
They each face two third-degree felony counts of Endangering Welfare of Children.
According to a criminal complaint, on Friday, August 23, Officer Miller, of the Punxsutawney Police Department, received a request to respond with Jefferson County Children and Youth Services (CYS) to a residence on South Penn Street based on information that two young children, ages one and three, were living in abusive and unsanitary conditions at the residence.
The complaint notes that it was reported to CYS that the children were subjected to unnecessary medication if they do not fall asleep and were subjected to physical abuse if they cried. The living conditions inside the residence were reported to “be trashed,” have an odor, and have dirty diapers in the children’s rooms. The referral also stated the children wake hungry and were given a popsicle for breakfast and are not fed again until dinner. It also alleged that the one-year-old’s door is locked shut from the outside each night from 8:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Officers met with Kayla Barnett at the residence and explained the report. Barnett reported that her significant other, Jason Myers, was not currently home.
According to the complaint, the conditions inside the house were “filthy” with an odor emanating from it and unsafe and unsanitary conditions inside, including animal feces strewn on the floor, uncleaned linens and clothing scatters through the children’s rooms, old food with what appeared to be mold on the stove, and dirty dishes piled on the counter. The officers also observed power tools and sharp objects within easy reach of the children and soiled diapers stacked in the corner of the bathroom by the tub.
Police also found an outside door lock latch on the outside of the one-year-old child’s bedroom and noted paint scratch and wear markings around the latch and door frame indicating it was frequently used.
The floors appeared to have never been cleaned or sanitized, the complaint states.
According to the complaint, both children appeared to be untidy and dirty, with heavily soiled diapers, sagging from being weighted down by urine.
The three-year-old child was noted to have a variety of wounds, including a blister on her foot, scratches, red abrasions and bruising on the middle of her back, not in a normal area where a child her age could self-inflict accidental injury.
The one-year-old child had a blister on his toe and scarring from what appeared to be previous injuries.
Multiple CYS workers were summoned to help the children who both suffered from rashes around their genitals due to improper or total lack of cleaning and changing, according to the complaint.
The complaint states “it was apparent that neither Barnett or Myers were providing the children with needs, such as dry diapers and basic hygiene.”
Both children were taken into emergency protective custody for their safety and placed with a foster family.
The complaint notes that on August 28, Officer Miller received information that the three-year-old child was seen by a dentist, and it was found that she suffered severe tooth decay.
According to the complaint, both Myers and Barnett admitted they were aware of the child’s dental needs, as they were informed the child would need tooth repair in March 2019. Four months had passed before Barnett made an appointment. The dentist that examined the child confirmed the child will now require surgery due to the decay due to the parents not taking care of her teeth, including allowing her to drink sugary drinks around the clock and not brushing her teeth.
The charges were filed against each Barnett and Myers through Magisterial District Judge Jacqueline J. Mizerock’s office on September 3.
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