Laurel County couple charged with child endangerment

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LAUREL CO, Ky. (WKYT) - Laurel Co. Couple arrested on child endangerment charges

A Laurel County couple was arrested Sunday morning for endangering the welfare of their children.

On Sunday morning around 4:10 A.M., Laurel County Sheriff deputies checked out a complaint on Finley Trailer Park Road, 2 miles south of London, that a juvenile was sleeping outside of a home on a couch with no parental supervision.

When the deputies arrived at the home, they found a 12-year-old boy sleeping outside on the couch turned upside down. The mobile home's front door was wide open and inside, deputies found a 10-year-old girl and a seven year old girl sleeping on the living room floor. Deputies noted that roaches were crawling over top of them.

No adults were home when deputies arrived. As deputies continued their investigation, they found the mobile home had no running water, no electric, no furniture, no refrigerator and very little food and was infested with roaches throughout the residence.

"I've been doing my best to get rid of them. It's kind of hard when I'm on a limited income and I'm working full time. The neighbors aren't much cleaner than I am. When I get rid of them. They come right back," said Michelle Russell, mother of the children.

Social services was called to the home. While deputies waited for social services to get to the scene, the mother of the children and her husband, their stepdad, returned to the residence in a blue Chevrolet cobalt car. Deputies were able to determine that the children were left unsupervised for about five hours. Deputies also noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and they found a marijuana pipe inside the vehicle. The stepdad told deputies that he had smoked marijuana about two hours earlier.

Deputies arrested 24-year-old Jerry Russell of London and 29-year-old Michelle Russell. Michelle Russell was charged with endangering the welfare of a minor. Jerry Russell was charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, operating a motor vehicle under the influence second offense, driving on DUI suspended license first offense, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The two were booked into the Laurel County detention facility.

Jerry Russell says he was only there visiting. He tells WKYT he and Michelle are getting a divorce, and he hasn't lived in the home for several months.

"Like I told the officers that night, I'm working on helping her get back on her feet. I'm working on trying to get the kids back on the right track," said Jerry Russell.

Michelle Russell says she was evicted and she was moving out of her trailer, it's why there was no furniture inside. She tells WKYT there was no power because of a storm a couple of months ago.

"I just want to see my kids so bad. I miss them more than anything else in this world," Michelle explained.

Social services took custody of the children.

The couple pleaded not guilty to the endangerment charges on Monday.

Michelle Russell, 29
Jerry Russell, 24

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