MANCHESTER, TN (WSMV) - Two Midstate parents are in jail after deputies found their eight children living in filthy conditions.
Deputies arrested Andrea Lynn Arthur and Alonzo Dewite Maxin on Tuesday after an investigation that began last month.
A report from the Coffee County Sheriff's Office said a woman called them about a young girl running around a mobile home park on Riddle Road.
What started as a check up ended with her parents in handcuffs. Without that call, deputies said they may have never known what was going on inside the home.
"She was over here messing with my kid's bike and stuff and was eating out of the trash can and I saw two police officers trying to catch her," Ann Todd, a neighbor said.
Lot six is where deputies found the child's parents. They let them inside the home.
What deputies saw has neighbors struggling to understand.
"It makes me want to cry. I'm a mother of two. I don't see how anyone could do that," Todd said.
Investigators said eight children, some as young as a year old, were living in horrible conditions. Some including a strong smell of urine, feces on the floor, and trash everywhere.
They also told News4 most of the children didn't have anything to sleep on in their room either.
"It's probably one of the worst cases I've ever seen," Sgt. James Sherrill with the Coffee County Sheriff's Office said.
Sgt. Sherrill said one child, a 10-year-old boy, looked like he was five from not getting enough food. What he saw matched up with what Vanderbilt doctors noticed too during their check up of the kids.
"In her words, these kids have been beaten, starved, and tortured," Sgt. Sherrill said.
Court records said the children stated they've been severely beaten for years and have psychological and physical injuries.
"It just break your heart just to see what was inside the house that they had to live with," Sgt. Sherrill said.
Stephanie Hicks, an aunt of children, sent News4 the following statement:
"The family and I would like to thank everyone involved in getting the kids the help they have so desperately needed for so long. These precious children have been through so very much in their short lives and we are hopeful that they will now finally be able to begin the process of healing in the aftermath of this situation. We cannot begin to understand what went wrong, or why Alonzo and Andrea made the awful choices they did that ultimately led to the children being found in such abhorrent conditions. The sheer magnitude of the mental, emotional and physical abuse these kids have lived through is hard to imagine and no child should ever be subjected to such treatment EVER.The thought of anyone, let alone flesh and blood family, harming their own children to such egregious extents is beyond comprehension. We hope and pray that justice will be served for the kids. We would be most appreciative if the privacy of the children and their caregivers be respected and for thoughts and prayers for all involved, especially the children, as we begin the process of navigating through this horrible situation."
Department of Children's Services workers took the children away from the home. They're staying with other relatives.