Couple charged after investigation into baby death finds 'deplorable conditions'

Couple charged after investigation into baby death finds 'deplorable conditions'
Justin Poole (Source: Rowan County Sheriff's Office)
Justin Poole (Source: Rowan County Sheriff's Office)

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - A Salisbury couple has been charged after police investigated the death of their six-month-old son and found the child was living in "deplorable conditions."

According to investigators, 30-year-old Justin Poole and his wife, 24-year-old Christina Poole, are facing child abuse charges.

Police began investigating last year when they were called to a home along the 1300-block of Majolica Road in Salisbury on November 7, for an unresponsive baby.

According to a warrant, three children - ages three, two and six-months - were living in a home that was described as having "deplorable living conditions." While the warrant didn't outline the specifics inside the home, a captain with the police department called the conditions "unsanitary."

WBTV went to the Poole's home Tuesday and the couple did not appear to be there. According to the captain, the condition of their home is the reason the Pooles are now facing charges.

"Well, it's disturbing any time you have to go, for anybody to see that," said Captain Shelia Lingle of the Salisbury Police Department. "As far as being deplorable, it was the smell, animal waste, dirty diapers, drinks, food that was a week or two old at least."

Six months later, from the outside, the Poole family home appears to be clean. But in November, Christina and Justin Poole called 911 after they found their 6-month-old son unresponsive. The Captain says when investigators arrived there was clothing and food all over the home inside and outside.

The baby boy was pronounced deceased and the Poole's other two children were taken into the custody by DSS. Captain Lingle said the children were placed by DSS in other family members' homes. One of the conditions for the parents to regain custody of their kids is to clean up.

The couple has each been charged with three counts of misdemeanor child abuse and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor through neglect.

Captain Lingle said the Pooles are not facing more serious charges because the cause of the 6-month-old's death could not be directly connected to the conditions of the home. The captain said it took some time to conduct the investigation because they were awaiting the medical examiner's official findings.

Monday, the Pooles were each being held in the Rowan County jail on a $15,000 bond, but are now out.

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