Couple accused of abandoning 3 children to avoid arrest

(Westmoreland County Prison)

GREENSBURG, Pa. — A Greensburg, Pennsylvania, couple accused of abandoning their three children to avoid arrest have been charged with child endangerment.

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Investigators say they found the kids living in deplorable conditions, unbathed, with only a jar of peanut butter to eat.

Officers described the smell in the house as "overwhelming" and said there were so many flies, they had to cover their mouths to not inhale any. They found the children confined to a filthy bedroom, kids who hadn’t seen their parents in a long time.

"I wish I would've known. I could've provided something," said neighbor Denise Gagliardi. "I could've brought them here, done anything. It makes me sad, really, to know that's going on in my own backyard."

Deputies with the warrant team were looking for their parents, and when they finally got an answer at the house, they found a random couple inside. The children -- a 16-year-old and 5-year-old twins -- were in a bedroom surrounded by rotting food, garbage and marijuana bongs on the floor.

Police said they were too afraid to come out.

"They didn't look like they showered a lot," Gagliardi said. "But that was just my personal opinion, but they were good kids. The oldest one I don't think ever went to school. I never seen him with a book bag."

The teenager allegedly told police he didn’t know where the parents were and that the children hadn’t bathed in a week and hadn’t left the room for days. He even hid valuables so the couple in their house didn't steal them.

When deputies finally tracked down the parents, Ryan Mason and Destiny Stamps, they found them at a house in Latrobe. A witness told police they had been on the run for a while so police couldn’t find them.

"I don't know if they were trying to avoid us, more of them supporting some sort of habit they have," said Sheriff Jon Held.

Latrobe police will be filing more charges against the parents for alleged possession of methamphetamine. The children are now in the custody of Children and Youth Services.