by Megan Trent
MOORELAND, Ind. (September 30, 2014) – When detectives with the Henry County Sheriff’s Department came for a welfare check at a mobile home on County Road 625 E in Henry County on June 27th, court documents indicate they found four young children, all under the age of four, living in deplorable conditions with no heat, running water, working bathroom or food.
The detective’s statements indicate that Earl LaRue, a convicted sex offender, told police his granddaughter, 23-year-old Sheena Zanghi, and her husband, 36-year-old Vincent Zanghi, had been living in a mobile home on his property for more than a year. Four young children were also living in the home, and he told detectives the mobile home wasn’t fit for people to live in considering it’s current condition.
LaRue also told police that he wanted the couple off of his property. At this point, Vincent had moved in with friends in Winchester, but Sheena and the children were still in the home.
Court documents indicate that when officers arrived at the mobile home, there was broken glass and wood with rusty screws and nails outside where the children could access them. The smell of human urine, detectives say, could be smelled before even entering the home.
The children appeared to be dirty and were wearing soiled clothing. They were also severely underweight.
Inside, the plywood floors were allegedly dirty, “unsteady”, splintered and had holes in areas. Parts of the ceiling were also caving in, and the house was littered with debris, clothes and trash.
A single extention cord ran from LaRue’s home to the Zanghi’s mobile home, providing minimal electricity that powered a large television and fan in the main living area, according to court documents.
Some of the windows were broken, allowing mosquitoes and flies to swarm inside and land on the pile of dirty dishes in the kitchen. There was no refrigerator or stove, and detectives say there was no food inside. Sheena told detectives she and the children often ate meals at her grandfather’s mobile home.
The two youngest children slept in a playpen that had a strong odor of urine. Bottles with spoiled milk were found in the playpen along with a blanket that was allegedly soaked in urine as well. The older two children slept on a mattress on the floor, according to court documents. It too was soaked in urine, and what appeared to be mold covered the walls.
Sheena reportedly told authorities that the children did not regularly see a doctor and had not been in quite some time. The kids were observed to have numerous cuts and bruises, which Sheena attributed to her pit bull puppies. All four children were taken to the hospital to be examined.
Doctors said the three youngest children were severely underweight. The two youngest were listed as “failure to thrive”. The three youngest children were then transported to Riley Children’s Hospital for further evaluation.
A child abuse specialist examined the children and reported that the three children were so underweight that they experienced “poor linear and brain growth”, putting them at risk for significant delays. One of the children also had an “extensive” skull fracture and another had “excessive” plaque buildup on his teeth. Multiple cuts and bruises were also present. The doctor also reportedly said that she was concerned that at least one of the children had been the victim of physical abuse.
The four children have since been placed in foster care. Sheena and Vincent Zanghi each face four class D felony counts of neglect of a dependent. They have made arrangements to turn themselves into the Henry County Sheriff’s Department by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday. Their bond is set at $5,000.