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Sullivan County welfare check spurs child abuse and neglect charges

March 14th, 2014 11:33 am by Rain Smith

Sullivan County welfare check spurs child abuse and neglect charges

Previous Kingsport Police Department mugshot of Donna K. Tester

Allegedly deplorable living conditions inside a Kingsport residence — including "feces in every room," inadequate bedding for five children and a pig running free — have prompted charges of child abuse and neglect against a mother.

Donna K. Tester, 35, of 724 Hedge Drive, was served with a criminal summons this week and appeared in Kingsport court on Friday morning. An investigation was spurred by a concerned call to police, saying one of Tester's children attends school in filthy clothing.

According to an incident report at the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office, a deputy conducted a subsequent welfare check at Tester's residence in early February. Upon Tester letting police inside, according to the report, a strong odor of feces and urine was immediately detected.

The children present were allegedly, "partially clothed and visibly dirty," while one young child was not wearing a diaper.

Police reportedly found feces on the kitchen and bathroom floors, while mattresses were also soiled with excrement. The report notes that a refrigerator and freezer in the residence contained, "no edible food."

Department of Children's Services and an SCSO detective were called to the scene, with the children transported to the care of a family member. An affidavit lists their ages as ranging between 2 and 17-years-old.

Animal control also responded, due to a pig and three dogs inside the residence.

Since that time, SCSO detectives and DCS personnel have conducted follow up interviews and consulted with the Sullivan County District Attorney's Office, culminating in this week's criminal summons.

Tester's next court date has been set for June 3.

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