Bluffton couple remain in jail for deplorable living conditions - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Bluffton couple remains in jail for deplorable living conditions

(Source: BCSO) (Source: BCSO)
(Source: BCSO) (Source: BCSO)

In the Lowcountry, a Bluffton couple remains in jail for raising their children in what police call deplorable living conditions.

On Dec. 15, police arrested and charged Benjamin Kochenderfer and Barbara Owen with three counts of unlawful conduct towards a child.

Bluffton Police responded to the home off Simmonsville Road earlier this week. Inside, they say conditions were unlivable for any child or animal.

When police arrived at the home Sunday night, they didn't realize how bad it would be.

"We were actually responding to a dispute between the landlord and the tenants, so when we arrived, no one was home at the time. There was a door open. We had a little dog running around so officers investigated further and that's when they discovered the conditions in the home," said Capt. Angela McCall-Tanner of the Bluffton Police Dept.  

According to the police report, officers smelled an overwhelming odor of feces and garbage.

Inside, they found large amounts of feces in every room, along with dirty clothes, discarded food wrappers with flies and heavy carpet stains.

"It was filthy and again, something we would consider unlivable for children."

Police also found no food in the refrigerator and no sheets on any of the beds.

They noticed the family's puppy appeared to be well-fed but was constantly itching and scratching itself.

At some point, Benjamin Kochenderfer drove up in this red minivan with their three young children and told them "they forgot to take out the trash last week."

Barbara Owen later told officers that she "works 14 hours a day and that the housework had fallen behind."

Police placed the three children in their grandmother's care and turned the dog over to the Beaufort County Animal Shelter.

Both Kochenderfer and Owen are due in court on Jan. 24, 2014 to face their charges.

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