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Child may have lived with dead pets

Police investigating whether woman kept minor in unsanitary home

By Alex Bridges- abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- Authorities say a woman accused of trashing a city home and charged with leaving dead animals on the property kept a child in unsanitary conditions in the residence.

The former tenant of 221 Boyd Ave., Renee McFarland, stands charged in Winchester General District Court on five misdemeanor counts of failing to bury or cremate dead animals. Police have accused McFarland, 37, of putting four dead cats and a deceased rabbit in a garage on the Boyd Avenue property.

Police seized more than a dozen documents from the Winchester Department of Social Services in their investigation of whether McFarland exposed a child to filth and unsanitary living conditions at the property as well as in at least three previous places she lived as a tenant.

Winchester police Lt. W.K. Stotlemyer and senior code inspector Danny Mowery responded to a call by property owner Julie Hayes in September about destruction of property, according to an affidavit filed Wednesday in Winchester Circuit Court.

Stotlemyer and Mowery entered and took photographs "showing complete devastation throughout the entire residence," the affidavit states.

"There were [an] estimated 200 mice residing in the residence, animal feces throughout the entire residence, approximately one foot of trash and debris lying on the floors throughout the entire residence along with four deceased domestic cats and one deceased domestic rabbit located in and around the property," according to the affidavit.
Stotlemyer states McFarland lived in residence with at least one minor child during this time.

Based on this information, Stotlemyer and Mowery discovered McFarland had lived in at least three residences as a tenant prior to Boyd Avenue "and [that were] found to have extensive damage and extremely unsanitary living conditions," according to the affidavit.
McFarland had lived at 333 Shenandoah Ave., 337 Shawnee Ave. and 679 National Ave., Stotlemyer states in the affidavit.

"It is believed that at least one minor child resided in several if not all of these addresses with Renee McFarland while the residences were found to be extremely unsanitary and have conditions [that] led to or would have led to condemnation if reported to police or code enforcement," the affidavit states.

"Your affiant believes there to be reports of child abuse and or neglect filed with the Department of Social Services which could prove Destruction of Property cases as well as Child abuse and neglect cases."

Investigators sought a warrant to search for records at the department pertaining to their investigation into offenses of child neglect/abuse and destruction of property.

The search warrant inventory shows investigators seized "17 various paper documents" from the Social Services office at 24 Baker St.

McFarland has not been charged with child abuse or neglect in Winchester Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, according to a clerk in the office, nor destruction of property in the General District Court, records show.

McFarland has a hearing in the district court set for Jan. 19.

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