Investigators rescued a 16-month-old baby girl, covered in roaches and, according to investigators, reportedly kept in a dog's cage. The toddler was found inside a filthy home surrounded by animals and even animal carcasses.
Mabel Larsen and her husband Aaron Parker live there. The question everyone in Liberty County is asking is how did this happen?
Neighbor Jessica Whitton said, "Children are God's gift. I'm sorry... They're just God's gifts and why would you do that?"
"I can't understand how someone can live in those conditions, much less how you can have a baby in those conditions on the floor or in a cage," said neighbor Renee Davis.
The toddler was discovered Tuesday night during an animal cruelty investigation. Investigators found a rotting dead horse in the back yard, two severely malnourished horses, a dead dog, 20 cats, and 10 dogs -- four of them unresponsive. That number is expected to climb.
Captain Rex Evans with the Liberty County Sheriff's Office said, "The interior of the house is certainly one of the worst I've seen. It's very rough, just deplorable conditions. "
Both Larsen and Parker were still on probation after being convicted of injury to a different child, a 10-year-old girl in October 2009. The girl was Parker's daughter. She had been tied to a weight bench with zip ties, and was removed by CPS after neighbors found her soiled and starving. She is now living with relatives.
A month later CPS also removed four other children -- a four-year-old girl, and three boys, ages six, seven and nine. All of them are in adoptive placement.
Detectives say Larsen is refusing to answer their questions, except to say this newly-rescued baby is hers.
Captain Evans said, "It is my understanding that she hasn't changed her position. She is still less than cooperative."
What infuriates neighbors is that they had no idea there was a baby living here. Had they known, they say they would have intervened.
"I am just a mom and I have two boys," Whitton said. "I just don't see how people can do this and get away with it."
Right now Parker is being called a person of interest in this case. Larsen is charged with animal cruelty, but those charges are expected to change as the investigation progresses. CPS has officially taken custody of that baby.