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Authorities remove children from ‘deplorable’ residence

Five children have been removed from a Jonesborough residence and placed into foster care after authorities discovered what they are calling some of the “worst conditions seen in several years.”
On Thursday, Washington County Sheriff’s Office investigators accompanied the Department of Children’s Services to the home of Robert Simons III, 53, and Mary Tittle, 37, at 147 Miller Road in Jonesborough. There, they reportedly found the couple’s five children unbathed and living in deplorable conditions.
“It was the worst case I think that any of us has ever seen,” said Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal. “We were all in tears.”
The children, ranging in age from 7 to 13, have never attended any type of school, police said, and are unable to read or write.
“Some of them couldn’t even tell you their names,” Graybeal said.
Some of the children were living on a bus in the front yard of the residence. The bus had no running water, no bathroom and sparse living arrangements, investigators said. The children reportedly were using the yard, whcih was strewn with broken items and trash, as a bathroom.
“It’s the worst case I’ve seen, especially with kids involved,” said WCSO Lt. Doug Gregg. “It’s one thing to be living like that as an adult, but it’s a whole other thing for kids to have to live like that.”
One of the children had an infection, reportedly caused by a rat bite, that was never treated. That same child reportedly is in renal failure and was not being given any medication or treatment for her condition, police said.
Following the discovery on Thursday, authorities rmoved the five children from the home and fed them.
“They didn’t even know how to eat,” Gregg said. “We bought them a bunch of food and when we put it in front of them, some of them just sat there and looked at it. They didn’t know what to do. They didn’t even know how to use a spoon or fork.”
The children also underwent medical exams before being placed, all together, in foster care.
According to authorities, the family moved to Tennessee after DCS in their former home state of Pennsylvania started an investigation in the fact that the children had never been enrolled in school.
Simons and Tittle each were charged with five counts of child abuse, child neglect or endangerment. They were scheduled to appear in court later this week.