Gatesville: Children found living in ‘horrible’ conditions; couple arrested

Joseph Bryan King, 37, and Amanda Nichole King, 34, both were in the Coryell County Jail Wednesday. (Jail photos)
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GATESVILLE, Texas (KWTX) A Gatesville man and his wife were arrested Wednesday after police found several children living in deplorable conditions in a house that had no running water.

Officers went to the house in the 100 block of Austin Street in December in response to a welfare concern and were invited inside the home, police Chief Nathan Gholke said.

“It was horrible,” he said.

“There was rotting food on the counters, feces on the floor, no water, no electricity, no proper bathroom facility – it was horrible.”

Joseph Bryan King, 37, and Amanda Nichole King, 34, both were in the Coryell County Jail Wednesday charged with felony-grade abandoning or endangering child (with) criminal negligence.

Their bonds had not been set.

The investigation that led to their arrest started after police received a report on Dec. 19 about the conditions in which the children were living, Gholke said.

Officers were sent to do a welfare check and discovered several people living at the address, three of them, children younger than 12.

An arrest warrant affidavit says officers were greeted by "the foul odor of filth, feces, smoke and marijuana."

Officers found the three children lying on pallets in the living room of the home, the affidavit said.

"They were filthy and it appeared they had not bathed in several days," the affidavit said.

"There were no lights in the living room, but the wall outlets worked. There were extension cords with exposed wiring running through the residence. The entire residence was covered in trash and in a state that was hazardous to the occupants," the affidavit said.

During the course of the investigation, the family moved out of the Austin Street house to a different residence in the county, Gholke said, so Coryell County deputies served the arrest warrants early Wednesday morning.

The three children aged 6, 9 and 10, were placed in the care of Child Protective Services workers.

Gholke said it’s not clear if the children were attending school and it also wasn’t known if there is extended family living in the area.