COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Police in hazmat gear went back to a home filled with human waste and rodents in Colorado Springs where a child was rescued on Thursday.
There were four officers and a sergeant. They went into the house at about 8 p.m. and were in there for about an hour. They didn’t say exactly what they were looking for, but the house has been condemned. The family will not be allowed in until it has been cleaned and re-inspected.
Neighbors say they are disgusted by what allegedly went on inside.
“Well, we walk by here at least twice a day to walk our dog, but we’ve never seen the child,” neighbor MJ Pascual said.
Police say the 13-year-old boy is autistic and was found naked and alone amongst rodents and human feces.
“It’s sad because he didn’t have a choice whether he wanted to be there or not. The adults, they could make their own choice, but the child didn’t have a choice how he wanted to live,” Pascual said.
“I cannot believe you’d treat a kid like that,” another neighbor said.
The boy’s father, Charles Wingate, a former city councilman with a long criminal history, says police are exaggerating the situation. He says his son is safe and simply prefers the indoors.
“I’m not sure what he said to the police officer. My son is very precise in his language and he probably indicated to them a very accurate statement that he had not been out of the house in quite some time,” Wingate said.
Wingate and his wife Sharon Starkie were arrested and cited for misdemeanor child neglect Thursday. Starkie has been placed on administrative leave from the church where she works part time. Some neighbors say if they are guilty, no punishment would be enough.
“I think they need to be in jail longer. Have them treated the same way that little kid was,” a neighbor said.
The district attorney will decide if the misdemeanor charges should stick or if more serious charges are appropriate. The boy remains in protective custody.