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Two more charged in Washington County child neglect case

From STAFF REPORTS
A continuing investigation into the alleged neglect and abuse of five children living in Jonesborough resulted in the arrest of two more people Friday.
The investigation began when authorites accompanied the Department of Children Services to the home of Robert H Simons III, 53, and Mary E. Tittle, 37, both of 147 Miller Drive, Telford, to find the couple’s five children living in what police called “deplorable conditions”
The children, ranging in age from 7 to 13, had not been bathed in over two weeks, police said. They were unable to read or write and had never attended any type of school.
The 10-year-old girl was suffering from renal failure and an infection from a rat bite, according to reports.
The children were living in a bus in the front yard of the home with no running water and no bathroom, police said.
At the time of the parents’ arrest, authorities described the conditions at the home as the worst they had ever seen.
On Friday, investigators arrested Leona Patricia Bentler, 41, a friend of the parents and also a resident at the Miller Drive property, and charged her with six counts of child abuse and neglect after additional information was obtained from follow up interviews with witnesses, victims and suspects involved in the case.
Investigators also summoned the children’s grandmother, Roberta Sauls, 57, same address, on charges of criminal responsibility for the conduct of another in reference to five counts of aggravated child abuse, child neglect or endangerment.
The five children were removed from the home last week, fed, clothed, taken for medical exams and placed in foster care, together.
Simons and Tittle were each charged with five counts of Child Abuse, Child Neglect or Endangerment. Their bonds were each set at $50,000. During subsequent hearings both their charges were upgraded to Aggravated Child Abuse, Child Neglect or Endangerment.
Police said the children are doing well, and have received lots of needed attention and belongings thanks to an overwhelming outpouring of gifts, money and support from the community.
The family reportedly moved to Tennessee when the DCS in Pennsylvania started an investigation into the kids’ lack of education.

Anyone with information on child abuse, child endangerment or neglect is required by law to report it to local Law Enforcement or the Department of Children Services at 1-877-237-0004.