ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska couple faces child neglect charges after authorities said their two teenage daughters lived in the basement of a filthy, mold-filled house without heat or power while the couple stayed in a camper in the driveway.
Timothy Hogan and Patricia Haugstad-Hogan of Anchorage were charged with misdemeanor counts of child neglect and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The two were arrested in March and are out on bail.
Charging documents said the parents were living in a camper in the driveway of their home when the girls ran away Christmas Eve and reported their living conditions. The documents also said the girls had never been to school and told police they felt trapped. One of the girls has since turned 18 years old and the other is 16.
It’s unclear if the girls were forced to stay in the basement under lock and key. Anchorage police are not releasing further information apart from the details in the court papers. Prosecutors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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Christy Lawton, director of the state Office of Children’s Services, said in an email that the two girls did not return to the family’s home after they showed up Dec. 24 at Covenant House, which provides services to homeless teens. Lawton said her office worked with police and Covenant House officials during the investigation. Her agency assumed emergency custody of the girls in early January, according to Lawton.
Reached outside the home Wednesday, Haugstad-Hogan said she wasn’t at liberty to comment on the case. The couple’s attorney, Jon Buchholdt, also declined to discuss it.
In the criminal complaint, Anchorage police Detective Will Cameron wrote that the sisters lived in the basement for about five years and told him they “have no opportunity to meet friends, socialize or contact outside family members within the Anchorage area.” The girls said they had not had heat or power since May 2015, according to the detective.
The court documents said police searched the house in late January and found it “in complete filth.” Cameron wrote the house was filled with garbage to the point of almost covering it from floor to ceiling. Yellow mold was found along the kitchen ceiling, and black mold was found in each room.
The couple is scheduled to appear in court May 16.
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