Deputies on Thursday arrested two Rock Hill parents after their 12-year-old autistic son was found wandering nude outside. Later that afternoon, police arrested a Rock Hill woman living at the same house after they evacuated the home of an elderly, bed ridden woman and several pets.
James Anthony Thornhill and Myra Chiquita Thornhill, both 29, are both charged with unlawful neglect of a child after deputies found their son wandering in someones yard without any clothes, according to a release from the York County Sheriffs Office.
He appeared to be autistic and was unable to communicate with deputies, the release states.
The York County Sheriffs Office K-9 unit was called in to locate the childs home at 1455 Elder Road. When deputies entered the house, they found three adults, one of which was elderly and bed ridden, and a 7-year-old child, living in the house.
The release describes the homes conditions as deplorable.
Deputies found animal urine and feces throughout the house. Rooms were filled with piles of trash, including bags of used cat litter. There was also a limited amount of food in the home.
Officials arrested the Thornhills and the Department of Social Services was notified. Both children are now in DSS care.
A criminal history check with the State Law Enforcement Division showed that neither Thornhill had any previous arrests or convictions.
Hours later, The Herald was on the scene when investigators, EMS and Animal Control evacuated the bed-ridden woman for health reasons while deputies made another arrest.
Chiquitha Leanne Roark, 48, was arrested outside the home around 2:45 p.m. Thursday. She was booked late Thursday afternoon. By Thursday evening, jail officials were still awaiting her warrant.
At 2:12 p.m., two York County Sheriff's deputies drove into the driveway. They knocked and Roark answered the door. After a few moments of talking with deputies, she became hysterical crying and yelling.
She then went into the house and let deputies inside. Paramedics with Piedmont Medical Center soon arrived on scene.
Another deputy drove to the house and said Roark was being taken into DSS custody. It appears that she had a caregiver at the home and officials thought it best to take her to the hospital. The deputy said it didn't appear that anything was wrong with her, but they wanted to make sure.
At 2:31 p.m., York County Animal Control arrived on scene. Two officers, one carrying two cages and another with an animal catch pole, went inside the residence. Another ambulance truck arrived on scene.
An Animal Control officer soon came out of the house, carrying out a small dog and placing it in a cage on the truck. Paramedics exited the house and grabbed a stretcher.
By 2:36 p.m., deputies, paramedics and Animal Control officers all re-entered the house with the woman. Paramedics carried a stretcher into the home.
At 2:45 p.m., paramedics wheeled out the stretcher with another, older woman on it. They loaded her into the ambulance.
Animal Control officers were the first to leave the scene.
Roark poked her head into the ambulance and appeared to tell the other woman something. She's heard saying that she "left a voice-mail" on someone's phone.
Ten minutes later, EMS left the property. Deputies stepped out of the house with Roark and continued speaking with her. After going back and forth in the house for several minutes, deputies escorted Roark outside. She placed both her hands behind her back while an officer placed handcuffs around her wrists.
He helped her into his patrol vehicle and drove away.
Deputies on the scene declined to comment as they were leaving the scene.
Trent Faris, spokesman for the York County Sheriffs Office, confirmed that two cats and a dog were seized from the residence by animal control. He did not have additional information about Roark's charges.
Faris was able to confirm that the bed ridden woman was the great-grandmother of one of the Thornhills, but it remains unclear which one.
Steven Stuber, director of York County Animal Control, said Thursday evening that the dog and cats appeared to be in good health and were being kept until their owners were released from jail.
The animals were confiscated because police cleared the house of all its occupants, placing them in emergency care, Stuber said.
Officials say more information and an incident report should be available Friday.