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Children taken from 'filthy' Charleroi home

| Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, 1:26 a.m.

Three children were removed from a Charleroi home after police discovered a suspected drug lab and “filthy” living conditions.

Benjamin Braddy, 34, and Sabrina Braddy, 35, of 932 Fourth St. Ext., were each charged with endangering the welfare of children after Charleroi Regional police went to their residence Sunday.

Officer Michael Carcella was called 11:05 a.m. Sunday to the Charleroi Laundromat at 301 First St., where the couple was arguing loudly and “offending customers,” according to a criminal complaint filed at the Charleroi office of Magisterial District Judge Larry Hopkins.

Benjamin Braddy told Carcella they were arguing because his wife wanted to go to church and he wanted to wash clothes. That's when Carcella noticed the Braddys' three children, who appeared to be “extremely dirty and were not wearing any type of winter jackets or warm clothing,” in 18-degree weather.

Carcella stated in the complaint that the clothes the children were wearing were “old and ripped,” and the clothing being washed was covered in “animal hair and dirt.”

Concerned about the children's welfare, Carcella said he asked the couple if they had ever been involved with children and youth services. The complaint indicated the couple said Washington County CYS had taken their children several years before.

Carcella contacted CYS social worker Leanne Merrill. After seeing the children, Merrill wanted to check their residence, according to the criminal complaint.

Carcella and Merrill arrived at the home and had to “forcefully push the door open” because dirty clothes and garbage were piled throughout the house.

The odor in the home was described as “unbearable” and “every room was so deplorable that you could not see the floor from the large amounts of garbage and dirty clothes scattered throughout the residence,” according to police.

State police were called after a chemistry set and suspected methamphetamine materials were found.

After after examining the materials, troopers determined they were used to make a suspected hybrid strain of marijuana. Three suspected marijuana plants were found growing under a light inside a Plexiglas box, according to the criminal complaint.

At some point, Benjamin Braddy was taken to Monongahela Valley Hospital in Carroll Township for an “anxiety attack and later signed himself in for a mental evaluation,” according to police.

CYS took the children from the home and reported to police the children mentioned they “helped their father cultivate the marijuana plants.”

In addition to endangering the welfare of children, Sabrina Braddy was charged with disorderly conduct. Benjamin Braddy was also charged with manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police sent them their charges via summons.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled 11 a.m. March 11 before Hopkins.

Stacy Wolford is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-684-2640 or at swolford@tribweb.com.

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