Betsy Blaney, AP, July 18, 2007
A judge on Wednesday ordered seven children removed from their rat-infested home strewn with dirty diapers after the mother’s miscarriage led to the discovery of the dead fetus in a baby wipe box in the refrigerator.
Gloria Ramirez, 26, was four months pregnant when she delivered the stillborn baby in her bathtub with the help of her oldest child, a 9-year-old daughter, according to court documents. Authorities came to the home after she called a funeral home to ask about a casket for the fetus, a spokesman for Child Protective Services said.
Anthony Moya, the 40-year-old father of the six younger children, has been charged with seven counts of child endangerment, and the same charges were expected to be filed against Ramirez next week, Lubbock police Sgt. Scott Farmer said.
When authorities arrived at the dilapidated house July 7, they found stacks of dirty diapers—nearly 4 feet high in closets—throughout the house, along with rat, roach and lice infestations, according to documents.
Decaying food lay around the home, trash bins overflowed, and mattresses had no sheets and were dirty, CPS spokesman Greg Cunningham said. Agency investigators suspected the children were malnourished, he said.
The oldest child often was left to care for the other six when Moya and Ramirez went out, court records state. The children range in age from 11 months to 9 years.
The two youngest children were taken to the hospital for suspected dehydration, and all seven had to be treated for head lice, documents show.
After the children were removed, a city code enforcement inspector cited the home for 37 violations, including unsafe wiring, no working hot water heater, holes in exterior walls and no proper connection to public sewer and water systems, according to the report.
The attorney appointed to represent Ramirez in the child custody case, Lisa Ratzke, declined to comment Wednesday.
Wednesday’s ruling wasn’t the first time Ramirez and Moya have temporarily lost custody of their children. In May 1999, CPS removed the oldest daughter and a son Ramirez had with Moya for physical neglect, Cunningham said. Case workers verified the allegations, and the parents completed a program required by the agency, he said.
The two children were returned to the parents in October 2000, Cunningham said.