BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The parents to five of the seven children found living in “horrific conditions” in a Berkeley County home Wednesday are now facing charges.
Erik Perez-Viera and Diana Salbon are each charged with five counts of unlawful conduct toward a child. The couple were being held at the Berkeley County detention center.
The investigation began Wednesday afternoon when authorities arrived at a home on Patriot Lane in the Summerville area after a property manager showed up and found a 3-year-old and 5-year-old locked in a bedroom with a deadbolt.
Following the discovery, the man called 911.
Chief Deputy Jeremy Baker said the children were living in “horrific” conditions. Investigating deputies reported finding human and animal feces, as well as trash, in two bedrooms upstairs.
At the time of the investigation, the sheriff’s office said Perez-Viera and Salbon also had their 1-year-old at the doctor at the time while two of their other children were in school.
Another woman was also living downstairs at the house with two of her own children who were also at school at the time, but she has not been charged. She was subletting the upstairs area to Perez-Vera and Salbon when they were arrested, according to the sheriff’s office.
All seven children have been placed in DSS custody.
Another couple, who was not home at the time, was also living in the garage of the home which was converted into a bedroom for a total of 12 people living in the house.
The sheriffs office says they are still investigating the role of other adults at the house.
All five of the children, ages between 1 and 9, were sleeping in one room on a double bed. The other two children found in the home are 10 and 7.
Neighbors said they saw older children at the residence and reported that there were multiple people who went in and out of the home on a regular basis.
Residents reported law enforcement units in the area early Wednesday afternoon. Pictures showed several deputy vehicles on Patriot Lane around 2 p.m.