FOUNTAIN, Colo. (KKTV) - Two small children were rescued after spending five days in a room covered in feces, with temperatures inside hovering just under 90 degrees.
Their mother allegedly left them locked inside the bedroom while she went on a two-week trip out of state.
Fountain police say a couple of Fort Carson soldiers intervened after learning that there were two "very young children living in squalor and locked in a bedroom" at the home of a third soldier, Kanesha Godin. Godin had apparently asked her friend Victoria Louis, also a soldier, to check in on her children once a day, change their diapers, then lock them back in the bedroom.
The soldier who ultimately reported the case to police said he accompanied Louis once.
"[Reporting party] said when they entered the apartment, they found two very young children locked inside a bedroom ... covered in their own feces. The children were wearing soiled diapers and nothing else. [Reporting party] said the apartment was extremely hot and he found that the thermostat was set at 90 degrees. The light inside the bedroom did not work. He used his cellphone light and saw feces smeared all over the walls, dirty diapers on the floor, as well as feces and urine stains."-From Kanesha Godin arrest affidavit
Louis told police she was under the impression a babysitter was with the kids when she wasn't.
"[Louis] was also told there was a neighbor watching in those off hours. It was her understanding she was to give that neighbor a break for a couple of hours. That turned out not to be true," said Sgt. Scott Gilbertsen with the Fountain Police Department.
According to the affidavit, Louis would feed the kids in the kitchen, give them water, change their diapers, then lock them back in the bedroom, "assuming the babysitter would go back over to the apartment shortly after she left."
When police responded to the home on the 100 block of Wellington Street, they confirmed the horrific conditions the soldier had reported.
"I have seen some photographs. The room is in disarray, the curtains were pulled off the wall, there was feces everywhere: on a crib, on the walls -- my understanding was even the kids had feces on them," Gilbertsen said.
The children, just 3 and 4 years old, were also showing signs of malnourishment, according to police.
Godin was taken in for questioning on March 9, one day after her children were discovered. She reportedly told police she had been visiting her mother in North Carolina, who had just had surgery. The arrest affidavit states she then told police the arrangement she allegedly gave Louis: that she had a babysitter who Louis would relieve a couple hours a night. According to the affidavit, she claimed any text messages between herself, Louis and the sitter were deleted from her phone.
Louis was then brought in for questioning and showed police a text message from Godin:
"The police officers in Fountain r guna ask u questions. They r guna put me in jail. I need u to do me a favor. I know wat I told us as far as the kids, but plz say tht u were confused about who was supposed to stay the night. Cus if u don't say tht I'm guna be charged with child neglect"--Text message from Godin to Louis, printed in affidavit
The woman named by Godin as the babysitter told police she had never been approached by her neighbor to sit, but that she received an "odd" text from Godin on March 9:
"I need u to do me a favor. I need u to vouch as my daytime sitter. They r guna take my kids and throw me in jail and I did nothing wrong. I kno it's weird and a lot but I just want to ask u tht favor."-Text message printed in affidavit
Godin is facing charges of felony child abuse. According to military records, she is a sergeant with Fort Carson's 10th Special Forces Group and has been in the service for 10 years.
Louis is being charged with misdemeanor child abuse for not reporting the situation sooner.
The children are with their father.
Police are still asking anyone with information on the incident to come forward. If you know anything, you can call the Fountain Police Department at 719-382-8555, or you may leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 719-634-STOP (7867).