11 CHILDREN FOUND CHAINED TO DIRTY MATTRESSES AND LIVING IN SQUALOR IN A TEXAS HOME WITH 10 ADULTS – UPDATED 03.13.2013 – CCA0044
In a 1,700 square foot home in Dayton, Texas, Child Protective Services came across eleven children living in torturous conditions. The home itself was absolutely filthy, and the state the children were found in is horrendous. The children rescued from the home include two infant boys, 5-months and 8-months old, a 1-year old boy, a boy and a girl, 2 years-old, a 3-year old girl, a boy and a girl, 4-years old, a 5-year old girl, (who is also blind and autistic), and two boys, 8 years old and 11 years old. Authorities are still trying to sort out how the children may be related, though it appears that most of the children were the grandchildren of two of the adults, Tanda Marsh-Smith and Odice Smith, who owned the home where this occurred. Marsh-Smith has a disturbing past, having 6 children removed from her care in the 1980’s and accusations of physical and sexual abuse against her grandchildren. Living with the eleven children were ten adults, most of whom have criminal and child molestation records. The children endured horrific physical and mental abuse, including constant beatings and being restrained. The children were harnessed and chained to filthy mattresses every night, and throughout the day. One child was found to have a black eye, finger mark bruises on his arm and a tooth knocked out. The oldest child confided to a case worker that his grandmother, Tanda Marsh-Smith, would choke him, and would whip his hands and feet. The children stated that they were sometimes locked up in a dark room, with a boarded up window, for up to three days at a time, not receiving any food. The only food found in the house when the children were removed were two loaves of bread in the freezer, and a few snack foods, none of which were appropriate for infants and young children. To make matters even worse (if that’s possible) also living there were two teenage boys, both 16, who admitted to running away from foster homes, smoking marijuana and driving a car they knew was stolen. None of the children were registered in school, and the 8 year old boy was not even sure what his last name was. The Smiths took careful measures to ensure that no one could see what was happening in the house of horrors. The windows were shuttered and covered by blinds, towels and bed sheets.
When the children were taken into protective custody, the two infant boys were transported to a local hospital where they were treated for pneumonia and failure to thrive. Since the 5 year old blind and autistic girl was placed in protective custody, she has not uttered a single word. The adults living in the home told investigators they tied the children when they slept or took a nap during the day “for safety”. An investigator noted that none of the adults said they saw anything wrong with any of the arrangements.
Child Protection Services, which took the children into emergency custody after they were seized on January 24, is under harsh examination as it has emerged the agency had clues into the sordid living conditions as early as 2005. When Tanda Smith moved to Texas after her 6 biological children had been removed from her care, she proceeded to have 7 more children n Texas. Four of her daughters and two of her sons, ages 16 to 34, and many of their children, list the Daytona home as their residence. In 2005, CPS was called to the home to investigate complaints that one of Smith’s grandson was being sexually abused. In 2009, CPS was again called to the home to investigate complaints, this time of another of Smith’s grandsons being physically abused. No action was ever taken by CPS however. One has to wonder what pain and torment these children may have been spared had CPS been diligent and did their jobs. When asked about the total number of calls to that household and what happened to them, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins said, “We’re still sorting things out,” and refused to discuss it. Hey Crimmins, maybe if you ‘sorted things out’ when they actually happen – you wouldn’t be here trying to answer why CPS allowed this to happen to these innocent children … just a thought.
As for the 10 adults living in the house, well, considering their histories and criminal records, I wouldn’t leave a goldfish in their care. Smith’s son, 34-year-old Mark Marsh III is a registered sex offender. He was found guilty of criminal conduct with a 15-year-old girl in Michigan. He also has other convictions against him in Texas, including making a terroristic threat, theft, family assault and failing to register as a sex offender. The grandfather of the 11 children, Odice Smith, is said to work weeks at a time offshore, but that didn’t stop him from building quite the criminal history. He was convicted FIVE times of drunken driving between 1984 and 2009. More information on the rest of the adults has yet to be released, but I’m going to predict that when it is, it won’t be a whole lot better than these two.
This entire case is heart breaking. How is it that this could be done to a child, not just by one person, but 10. Charges have not yet been laid, but we are told they are coming. I say get the hell on it – how they weren’t arrested the day the children were found is beyond me. It’s time for these officials to pull their panties up and do what they are paid to do, protect and get justice for these children.