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COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — The mother of twin 2-year-old girls found living in squalor in their Coeur d'Alene apartment pleaded guilty Monday to one count of felony injury to a child.
Elisabeth Crossley, 27, (right) entered her plea as part of a deal with the Kootenai County Prosecutor's Office. Under terms, Crossley could face up to 10 years in prison.
Acting on a tip from neighbors, authorities found the twins in December locked in a bedroom at their apartment, investigators said. Both remain in state custody. Investigators say the girls were sealed inside the bedroom with no clothes, bedding or furniture.
They say the walls of the room were covered in fecal matter, and both girls were bruised and had open sores.
Police also said a couch cushion was tied to the inside of the bedroom door to muffle noise from the twins banging on the door.
First District Court Judge John Luster said the facts of the case are "disturbing," and he scheduled sentencing for April 13.
Crossley was released from Kootenai County jail on her own recognizance pending sentencing.
The judge ordered that she remain in Idaho. Crossley said little at her hearing Monday and kept her face covered with her long hair, according to the Coeur d'Alene Press.
She has offered authorities no explanation for the injuries or living conditions inside the apartment.
Last week, Crossley's mother, 55-year-old Ruth K. Cassidy, (left) entered an Alford plea to felony injury to a child.
Crossley's estranged husband, Scott Lewis Crossley, 41, says he plans to get a paternity test so he can take custody of the girls. He said traces of his life with his wife were destroyed in a burn barrel on a California beach while on an "acid trip." Scott Crossley said he worked as a professional wrestler from 1999 to 2002 under the name Mutant, but isn't working now because of a heart-rhythm disorder, according to the Associated Press.
(AP) — The grandmother of twin 2-year-old girls found with injuries and living in filthy conditions has reached a plea in the neglect case.
Ruth K. Cassidy, 55, (left) entered an Alford plea to one count of felony injury to a child. Prosecutors agreed to drop a second count, according to court records. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to get a conviction.
District Judge John Luster scheduled Cassidy's sentencing for April 13. Kootenai County deputy prosecutor Donna Gardner says 26-year-old Elisabeth Crossley (right) is likely to be arraigned next week.
She also is charged with two counts of felony injury to a child after her children were found in a bedroom with no clothes and dried feces caked on their bodies.
Crossley's estranged husband, Scott Lewis Crossley, 41, says he plans to get a paternity test so he can take custody of the girls.
He said traces of his life with his wife were destroyed in a burn barrel on a California beach while on an "acid trip." Scott Crossley said he worked as a professional wrestler from 1999 to 2002 under the name Mutant, but isn't working now because of a heart-rhythm disorder, according to the Coeur d'Alene Press.
Coeur d’Alene police on Sunday arrested a woman whose 2-year-old twin daughters were found with dried feces caked all over their bodies.
Elizabeth C. Crossley, 26, was charged with two counts of felony injury to a child. A warrant also was issued Monday for the arrest of the children’s grandmother, Ruth K. Cassidy, 55. The children are in the custody of the Idaho Health and Welfare Department, a Coeur d’Alene Police Department news release said.
Chief Wayne Longo praised passer-by Anthony Brown for reporting the children’s condition to the police after he walked by the apartment at 1201 N. Lincoln Way around 2:30 a.m. Sunday and saw the two girls sleeping naked on the floor in what appeared to be “very dirty conditions,” the release said.
When officers arrived, they also saw through the window two children laying face down on the carpet clutching a small teddy bear. They appeared to be huddled together for warmth. There were dirty diapers on the floor and on the window sill and the walls in the room appeared to be smeared with feces.
Once inside, the officers said they saw a large number of cats and two dogs and garbage and clutter strewn about, the release said. Rotting food sat on the stove and counter. Officers said the beds in Crossley’s and Cassidy’s bedrooms appeared to be relatively clean but when they opened the door to the children’s bedroom, one officer had to step outside to vomit. The smell of feces was overwhelming and both children had it caked on their heads, arms, legs, hands and feet. They also had bruising and open sores.
The children were immediately removed and placed into protective custody. They were then taken to Kootenai Medical Center for further evaluation of their injuries.
Police said a couch cushion was tied to the door of the girls’ room “in such a fashion to stop the girls from hitting the door or pounding on it.” A child door knob safety device prevented the girls from opening the door from the inside. The room had no furniture.
When the officer asked Cassidy the girls’ names, she was initially unable to tell them apart, the release said.
“She was ultimately able to tell them apart by lifting up their shirts to differentiate between their injuries,” the release said.
Crossley offered no explanation for their injuries or living conditions other than to say they were difficult to manage.
Elizabeth C. Crossley, 26, of Coeur d’Alene, has been arrested charged with two counts of felony injury to a child after police found two small naked children sleeping naked on the floor of her fecal-laden apartment early Sunday morning. Responding to an eyewitness report at about 2:30 a.m., officers saw the children through the window lying face down on the carpet, naked, and clutching a teddy bear. The release reports: “There were several dirty diapers on the floor and one in the window sill. Every wall in the room appeared to have fecal matter smeared on it. The children were dirty and appeared to be huddled together for warmth.” Later, the officers saw that the children and their teddy bear were covered with fecal matter/Christie Wood, Coeur d’Alene police news release. More here. And: Rob Kauder’s KXLY story here. (Photos courtesy: KXLY)