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Mom in extreme abuse case called her 7 uneducated kids ‘garbage disposals with legs’ and surrounded her filthy bed with animal cages: Affidavit

Crystal Roberston, Shane Robertson

Crystal Roberston, Shane Robertson (Pennridge Regional Police Department)

Married parents in Pennsylvania face numerous felony child endangerment charges after cops showed up at their home in April in response to concerns that two children were spotted entering an abandoned trailer and taking items. What police allegedly discovered afterwards at that trailer park home in Sellersville is the stuff of nightmares.

After the Pennridge Regional Police Department responded to the scene, they said that their first move was ensuring the seven children found living in filthy conditions surrounded by animals were placed in protective custody.

“April 23rd 2023 at approximately 130 pm officers responded to the 800 block of Roseann Lane for a report of two juveniles entering an abandon trailer,” the Pennridge Regional Police Department said. “Upon further investigation it was determined that the children resided in a home nearby. Bucks County Children and Youth responded to address concerns of the officers on scene, resulting in seven children being taken into protective custody.”

Crystal Roberston, 37, and Shane Robertson, 47, have since been accused of keeping their seven children in isolation and filth at their Green Top Trailer Park home — without formally educating any of the victims.

“Upon their arrival, they found a 12-year-old juvenile female (henceforth JV3) in the front yard of 655 Roseann Lane, directly next door to 675 Roseann Lane. JV3 began speaking to officers by explaining that her parents told them not to go over to the abandoned trailer and that her parents should not be held responsible,” said the affidavit of probable cause, describing the Pennridge Regional Police Department’s encounter with a barefoot child who told them she had social anxiety. “JV3 continued by stating she was only taking a blanket to keep her rats warm because her family does not have much money left.”

JV2, a 14-year-old girl, then appeared from behind the abandoned neighboring residence wearing “large work boots too big for her feet and had on clothing that appeared dirty.”

Cops said they then called up the Robertsons and the parents arrived within a half hour. When the parents got there, the affidavit said, they agreed to let the officers look around the residence.

More Law&Crime coverage: Polyamorous trio faces over 100 years in prison for ‘extreme’ child abuse 

“Crystal Robertson stated that they were going through so much food that she had to put a lock on the refrigerator because they were ‘stealing’ everything and referred to the children as ‘garbage disposals with legs,'” the affidavit said. “Upon entry into the trailer, officers found the refrigerator to be locked shut with a bicycle lock. The interior of he trailer was also in obvious disrepair and disarray.”

JV1, a 16-year-old girl, “appeared unkempt” when she emerged from her room at her father’s request, cops said. The girl’s father allegedly told police that the teen was the last daughter he had, when in fact he had three more daughters and a son.

Authorities left the scene to file a “Childline Report,” as outlined by Pennsylvania law, but returned by around 5 p.m. when Bucks County Children and Youth “discovered more children being hidden in a rear bedroom of the home during her visit,” the affidavit continued.  “When Officers arrived, they met with Shane Robertson outside of the home, who advised he had seven children and did not tell officers this earlier because he did not want to get in any trouble.”

Trouble did follow for the Robertsons.

JV4, JV5, JV6, and JV7  — a 10-year-old girl, 8-year-old girl, 6-year-old boy, and four-year-old girl, respectively — were taken to a hospital for evaluation due to conditions, cops said.

Cops said that all of the children, except for JV2, were “clinically malnourished,” and many of them were sick.

“JV5 and JV7 tested positive for Covid9. JV1 and JV7 had low kidney function. JV2, JV3, and JV5 had fevers and were diagnosed with Acute Viral Syndrome,” the affidavit said.

From here, authorities detailed the shocking conditions found in the home.

“The room that Shane and Crystal slept in had a bed in the middle of the room with several animal cages surrounding it. The sheets on the bed did not appear to have been washed in several weeks/months. On the floor were items of garbage and the walls had holes in them,” court documents said. “The back bedroom adjacent to Shane and Crystal’s bedroom was blocked off with a broken washing machine. This room did not have a door and was cluttered with dirty clothing and garbage on the floor.”

“The third bedroom had feces on the floor in front of the entrance. A flithy mattress lay at the center of the room with a dirty blanket on it. Your Affiant found feces on the blanket as well while photographing this room,” the affidavit continued. “This room also housed approximately two dozen rats that were located in two different cages.”

Cops claimed to find no cleaning products in the home whatsoever.

“The bathroom also did not have soap, toothpaste, or any other hygienic products for the occupants of the home,” police said. “The cabinets were in very bad shape the oven appeared as if it had never been cleaned.”

The trailer home was in such a dilapidated state that Crystal Robertson “fell through the floor” in front of her bedroom door a few months prior, according to the affidavit’s account of what she told investigators.

It gets worse.

Investigators found “two dogs, two turtles, two rabbits, snakes, toads, and a four-foot reptile known as a Tegu inside the home, along with the approximately two dozen rats,” documents said.

Authorities indicated there was a “bad odor” and “several bugs” in the home.

“Over the next week, it was learned that none of the seven children had any formal education, and all lacked basic knowledge. Some of the children did not know their own birthdates. Four of the children suffer from speech impediments,” investigators said. “All of the children struggle with reading, writing, and spelling. They all exhibited social anxiety and disclosed that they did not like being in public or around other people.”

JV6 and JV7 were “clinically underweight” and JV6, the 6-year-old boy, had a “dangerous abscess in his mouth” and “13 visible cavities.”

“The only notable food located in the home was for the animals,” investigators said.

JV1, JV2, JV3, and JV5 were deemed to have “poor eyesight” and in need of glasses, and JV3 had maggots in her hair, cops said.

Court records say that each defendant was booked into jail on May 19 and released the next day, when they posted their $10,000 bail. Scheduled preliminary hearings for the morning of May 29 were moved to August 7, court records say.

The defendants each face one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, in connection with the alleged abuse of JV7 (the 4-year-old girl), and six counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of the rest of the children.

Each of the children was placed in foster case, cops said.

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.