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New Kensington police find disoriented mom, hungry kids, filthy house with raccoon inside

Chuck Biedka
| Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, 5:45 p.m.
Melanie M. Gigliotti
Westmoreland County Prison
Melanie M. Gigliotti

A disoriented woman, her two children — and an intruding raccoon — were found at a filthy New Kensington home during an investigation on Monday evening, police said.

Officers responded to a call and said they found Melanie Marie Gigliotti, 30, wrapped in a blanket, and she had “pinpoint” pupils and was staggering outside.

Neither of the children wore coats, shoes or socks even though it was about 49 degrees outside, authorities said.

According to police, when the woman took police inside, she forgot one child and a police sergeant directed the youngster inside. A criminal complaint didn't specify the children's ages.

Once inside, police took notice of the conditions at the Freeport Road home.

Gigliotti said she and a man staying in the apartment had argued about a drug, and that's why she and the children fled, police said. He wasn't there when police arrived.

Officers said they saw empty heroin packets that were within reach of the young children.

Water, heat and electric service were cut off and the only apparent source of heat was a space heater in the living room.

The heater was powered through an extension cord strung from a neighboring house.

The kids' clothes were dirty, and police saw that they had been eating from packets of uncooked noodles.

Then the sergeant saw a raccoon on the stairwell. The animal ran upstairs.

Gigliotti said they had been “fighting the raccoon.”

Meanwhile, the children were digging through dirty clothes to find something to pull on and get warm, police allege.

The children were placed into custody of the Westmoreland County Children's Bureau.

Gigliotti is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of children and possession of drug paraphernalia.

She was arraigned by District Judge Frank J. Pallone Jr. and ordered held in the Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bond, pending an Oct. 12 preliminary hearing in New Kensington.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711, cbiedka@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.