BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A mother and father have been arrested after Berkeley County deputies found seven children living in extremely poor conditions at a residence on Patriot Lane.
According to an incident report, deputies said the bedrooms all had deadbolts on the outside of the doors, had no door handles and that every room had a camera inside them.
A woman, identified as Diana Salbon, let a small child out of one of the rooms. Deputies said they had a hard time entering the room because of the clutter inside and said the “smell was horrific.”
She told deputies five of the children share the one bedroom.
Deputies said there was also an unknown number of small caged animals inside the room with the children.
The other two children lived in the home, but in a separate bedroom in the downstairs area – they were in ‘leviable conditions,’ the report stated.
The discovery was made Wednesday afternoon by a property manager who went to the home for an inspection and advised he had given several weeks’ notice before arriving.
He told deputies he went upstairs and that the doors were closed and deadbolted. When he tried to enter the bedroom, a child said, “let me out, I am hungry.” At that point, he said he went downstairs and asked Salbon if he could let the child out, which she responded “no.”
Salbon, the mother of the five children and the father, Erick Perez-Viera, were arrested at the scene and charged with unlawful conduct towards a child.
The mother of the other two children is not facing charges at this time.
One neighbor, who wants to remain anonymous, said his neighbors moved into the Berkeley Commons home about a year and a half ago and said he became suspicious when numerous people started coming and going into the home.
“Every once and a while you’d see a young child or two; in the morning construction vehicles like the one over there would pull up, young men would run out the house, get in and take off,” he said.
Photos provided by the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office provided a look inside that home and the conditions those children were living in.
None of those children showed signs of physical abuse and the sheriff’s office said they have not been called to that house before.