MAPLEWOOD, Minn. - A Maplewood couple is charged with neglect after officers found them drunk, and their 22 month old son living in filth.
Clayton Johnson, 26, and his girlfriend Rebecca Lee Koecher, age 23, are both charged with neglect of a child. Johnson is also charged with assault for allegedly trying to punch a police officer as he was being held in the jail.
A criminal complaint says that Maplewood Police were called on February 4 by the couple's landlord, who said that Johnson was drunk and banging on his door.
The landlord, who lives in a house on the property, was renting the garage apartment to the couple illegally. That garage is not zoned to be leased as an apartment.
When police arrived at the residence on County Road B they noticed the smell of something rotting even before they entered the property. It was so bad, the complaint says, that officers thought it was a dead person or animal.
Investigators say when Johnson answered the door he was so drunk that he fell down. Once the door was open, officers say the smell was so putrid that they had difficulty breathing.
Johnson eventually told them his 22-month-old son was inside a bedroom with his mother. Police went inside the bedroom and reportedly found Koecher passed out next to an empty fifth of vodka. She was almost laying on the child. Koecher was taken to detox while the boy was transported to Children's Hospital.
As they attempted to take Johnson into custody, officers say he began to swear and yell and at one point squared off as if he was going to fight them. He was handcuffed and taken to detox as well. When they arrived at detox Johnson asked to use the bathroom and when uncuffed, threw a punch at an officer and directed a number of racial slurs at another.
Back at the home investigators found dirty laundry, spoiled and rotten food scattered, a plugged toilet filled with feces, and dirty diapers and tampons all over the floor. Inspectors declared the structure uninhabitable.
Investigators would not allow us to show the photos of the apartment on-air, but they did let reporter Jana Shortal see them.
She described them as absolutely disgusting.
Lt. Mike Shortreed said he would rank this case as one of the worst he has seen in terms of people living in filth and his empathy is with that 22-month-old boy.
"They are helpless, I mean, they don't know anything other than what they are currently living in. Not able to fend for themselves so they have to base living conditions on what they live in. My reaction is that isn't a fair system and no child should have to live in the conditions that child was living in," Lt. Shortreed said.
Prosecutors say Johnson has four previous felony convictions.
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