Two young children were rescued from a feces-smeared windowless basement room where Hamilton police allege they had been kept locked up by their relatives.
A third child is also believed to have been living in the basement.
The 35-year-old father, 27-year-old mother and 60-year-old grandmother of the two boys, aged 2 and 5, were charged this week with forcible confinement. The grandmother also faces an assault charge.
The children were found on April 2 when police went to the Stoney Creek Mountain home after an 911 call was received from an unknown caller. Investigators now believe one of the children made the call.
Police, who are required to check all unknown 911 calls, at first found nothing out of the ordinary, said Det. Sgt. Chris Kiriakopoulos of Hamilton police. But, "when an officer came near the basement stairs, he heard a cry from downstairs."
Officers found a 5-year-old boy near the bottom of the stairs "in a state of anxiety and fear," then discovered a small room with a 2-year-old boy inside. "The room was filthy beyond words, and the officer who entered it said he almost couldn't breathe from the stench," Kiriakopoulos said.
Bunk beds in the windowless, pitch-black room were soaked with urine. Feces were smeared on the walls. "The room was very filthy and officers found dead rats outside the room," Kiriakopoulos said.
The door had been locked with a latch and it appeared that the children "had been confined inside the room for periods of time."
Child-abuse investigators, armed with a search warrant, went through the home the next day. Six children in all, aged 2 to 13, had been living there. They are now in foster care. "The kids have been checked medically and they're all clear," Kiriakopoulos said.
Dominic Verticchio, executive director of the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton, said children's aid workers had routinely been checking on two children who lived with their grandparents on the main floor of the home. "But nobody knew the other children were living there," he said.
The CAS had been involved with those children for "a couple of months." A third child, aged 13, also lived on the main floor, but was not in CAS care.
"The living conditions were impeccable. No problems at all ... They were being well cared for," Verticchio said. "We are very shocked. We had no idea of what is going on in the basement."
He said three children were living in the basement with their mother. Her boyfriend, Verticchio said, is the son of the couple who lived upstairs and also the father of the two children who were being visited by the CAS. It is unclear whether the father – who had been ordered by a court to stay away from his children – was living in the home.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Notice that the father "had been ordered by a court to stay away from his children"
Now to wait for the rest of the story, if the CAS executive director reveals it, odds are he will not.