Police: Lawrenceville children removed from filthy, cockroach-infested home

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

Police said DFACS called them in to assist as they investigated an anonymous tip about drug activity and the condition of the home.
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. —

Nine children are now in state custody after investigators said they found them living in filth.

Gwinnett County police told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh the conditions they discovered inside this Lawrenceville home endangered the health and well-being of the children who lived there.

Neighbors said they watched as police officers arrived at the home on Prince Anthony Drive Thursday night, along with investigators with the Department of Children and Family Services.

When they left, the children inside the home left with them.

"I heard the kids cry and it broke my heart," neighbor Jennifer Snyder told Kavanaugh.

"The boy was just crying, 'I don't want to go, I don't want to go,'" neighbor Susan Vianey said.

Police said DFACS called them in to assist as they investigated an anonymous tip about drug activity and the condition of the home.

"There was a large amount of trash. The home was in disrepair, the walls and the ceiling, mold, fecal matter from animals," Cpl. Jake Smith with the Gwinnett County Police Department said about the condition of the home.

Investigators also described infestations of cockroaches. Police said the children living there were too young to care for themselves.

"They ranged in age from newborn, about 5-days-old, all the way up to 9," Smith said.

Police arrested and charged Rebecca Black, Jerry Towler and Jessica Towler with multiple counts of reckless conduct and child cruelty.

Police believe Black is mother to five of the children, including the infant. They said the Towlers had four children of their own.

"No child deserves to live in conditions like that, if that was the case," Snyder said.

Neighbors did tell Kavanaugh the children always appeared happy and healthy.

"The kids that I've seen out there, they're always clean, they're always happy," Vianey said.

"The kids are the most adorable kids there are in existence," Snyder said.

Neighbors said it's really unfortunate because it appeared the family was trying to clean up the home.

Kavanaugh reached out to DFACS to learn more about the condition and whereabouts of the children, but so far has not heard back.