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Children Living in Squalor with No Food

Four children were removed from their home last week in Lake Grove, Staten Island after a neighbour called the police complaining of the squalid conditions of the house they lived in.

Investigations were already under way by the County Department of Social Services and officials declined to comment on the family.

The children who were aged 2 to 15 were believed to have gone without food for a week and there were no beds to be found in the house.

It was filled with strewn rubbish which had resulted in it being overrun with insects and a cesspool had leaked into the basement flooding it.

The Begging Note

he call to the police from next door was made by Mrs Turano who said she began to suspect something was very wrong when one of the children from the uninhabitable house left a note on her front door step begging for help with the words written “I’m alone”.

Mrs Turano’s daughter had made friends with the 9 year old writer of the note and when she visited she was always dressed in dirty clothes and covered in mosquito bites. Ms Turano felt sorry for the child and used to feed and bathe her. “She was always hungry and craving motherly attention” said Turano.

House Reeked of Urine

When the girl allowed Turano into the house next door she was shocked by the state of it and felt compelled to call the police to report the situation.  "I wanted to throw up. It wouldn't be fit for a dead rat," she said of the conditions in Schnell's house.

Black water and dead flies were laying in a bath of stale water and the whole house reeked of urine.

Charges against Mother

The ‘mother’ Denise Schnell was arrested and taken into custody with a bale of $10,000.  Represented by a Legal Aid Society attorney of charges of endangering the welfare of four of her children by ‘allowing the home to become infected with insects, flooded, filled with garbage and contaminated with mould” being made against her.

Fathers of the Children

Schnell a manager for the massive supermarket chain Wal-Mart had been separated from her estranged husband for over a year.  The husband is father to one of the children.

Frank Molfetta the ex boyfriend is father to the 9 year old girl and her 12 year old brother and even though he lives in the same area he had not been in the house for almost seven months but did comment he had been trying to get custody of his children.

He acknowledged that Denise ‘has a history of keeping the house messy’ and went on the say that a messy home should be enough to put her behind bars.

Social Services

Concerned neighbour Turano had contacted Social Services repeatedly but they were unable to gain entry into the house on Greencrest Street to determine the living conditions for themselves.

Yesterday the four children were being looked after by relatives and family friends and the property where they were taken from had now been condemned by the Lake Grove Building Department.