Parents facing neglect charge

Authorities say home full of bugs, trash, feces

The parents of an 18-month-old child have been arrested for the unsafe and unhealthy conditions in which their baby was living, police said.

Johnny C. Tucker, 58, and Christina E. Tucker, 25, of Sparksville both face a Level 6 felony charge of neglect of a dependent after police responded to a complaint of a strong smell coming from the couple’s home last Wednesday.

The person reporting the smell also said there was a child at the residence living in “horrible conditions.”

Officers Dustin Steward and Mitch Ray with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department visited the home on West Second Street and confirmed they could smell a very strong odor of what they thought was trash and also noticed several roaches crawling outside the residence, according to Steward’s report.

Story continues below gallery

According to a probable cause affidavit, Christina Tucker told police they had just moved into the residence and still were in the process of cleaning it.

“When I stepped into the house, the odor was so bad it was hard to breathe, and the trash and dishes were stacked up,” Steward said in his report.

Steward said he asked the mother if he could see the child because they had been told the baby had a diaper rash. At that point, Steward said the woman began to cry and begged them not to take her baby.

Upon entering the home, Steward said he observed a man, later identified as Johnny Tucker, lying on a mattress on the floor and asked him if he could look around the home and take pictures.

“I noticed the floor falling through, several bugs and roaches, trash that was piled, dirty dishes with food and bugs in them and their only toilet full of feces and just in front of the toilet was toilet paper with feces all over it stacked several feet high,” Steward said in his report.

There also was toilet paper with feces on it being walked on in the bathroom and hallway, he added.

When questioning the couple about their living conditions, Steward said they commented several times they were trying to clean up the place.

“I advised them both that it did not appear that any effort was being made to pick the place up and that I had contacted child protective services,” Steward said.

Christina Tucker said she had spoken with CPS before and was told “it wasn’t the worst they had seen,” according to Steward’s report.

While waiting on a CPS worker to arrive, the couple started to clean up the home, Steward said.

According to Steward’s report, Johnny Tucker told the CPS worker the home had been in its current condition for just two months.

The child, who police and the CPS worker confirmed did have a diaper rash, was removed from the home.

The Tuckers were booked into the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown on Monday afternoon without bond. If convicted, they could serve six months to 2½ years in prison.

January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at or 812-523-7069.