Casper Officers Find Children in Filthy Home; Couple Arrested
A home check by the Wyoming Department of Family Services allegedly revealed five children living in filthy conditions, leading police to arrest a man and woman on child endangerment charges.
Brianna Lee Brafford, 30, and 40-year-old Rodney Russell Brafford, were each booked into jail on single child endangerment charge.
Charging papers say two Casper police officers were sent to a home on South Beverly Street for a family fight. Two DFS agents were on scene to conduct a home check on the Brafford residence, and they could hear the Braffords yelling at one another from outside the apartment.
The DFS agents told dispatch it was unclear whether the fight was physical, but there was a history of domestic violence in the home.
Officers arrived and heard yelling coming from inside. Rodney Brafford answered the door and said he and Brianna were arguing about a puppy they were keeping in the apartment.
Police saw a banister was torn out of the wall, and a hole was in the wall next to the front door. A garbage can and several bags of garbage were stacked in the hallway outside the apartment, and feces was in the hallway directly outside the apartment door.
Rodney Brafford reportedly said it was their garbage, and they were in the process of cleaning the apartment. He denied that a physical fight had taken place.
An officer spoke with Brianna Brafford inside the apartment. She reportedly said they had been arguing about the puppy, and the mess it made in the apartment. She said they had found the puppy in a dumpster, and she thought it was a bad idea to bring it home. She said the poor condition of the apartment was due to the puppy.
DFS agents told police that a family assessment was underway due to reports of child neglect, educational neglect, physical violence and poor living conditions. Four children were home at the time, while a fifth was at school.
Several of the children were not clothed and did not have diapers on. They appeared "dirty, and in disarray" according to court documents.
The apartment was in "complete disorder," with garbage on the floor and stacked around the apartment. The floor and furniture were covered with various personal items, while spilled food and baby formula was on a table and floor in the dining area.
The kitchen was "filthy" with dirty dishes and cookware. Two burners were missing off the stove, which was also filthy. The oven contained a stack of dirty dishes and cookware; several cabinet doors were torn from their hinges or removed from their tracks.
The children's beds were filthy, with what appeared to be feces and bodily fluids on the mattresses. Several piles of dog feces were in one of the children's bedrooms.
Feces was apparently smeared on the bathroom floor, the carpet near the toilet and the shower. During a previous visit, DFS agents had been told it was diarrhea from one of the children being sick.
Rodney Brafford continued to blame the puppy for the condition of the apartment. He said they had found the dog the night before, and were keeping it in the apartment until a friend could pick it up. DFS agents said they had seen the puppy during previous visits, and had been told the same story.
While authorities were at the scene, Rodney Brafford reportedly did not address several concerns raised by officers and DFS agents. He did not put diapers on, or clothe the children.
DFS agents told police that one of the children in the home was of school age and had missed 33 days of school. An affidavit had been filed in Natrona County District Court earlier in the week, petitioning for legal custody due to educational neglect and failure to get the child proper medical and dental care.
Several children had been scheduled to receive dental surgery or other care, but were not taken to their appointments by the Braffords. The two school-aged children had already missed more than the allotted number of days for the school year.
Rodney Brafford was arrested at that point for child endangerment. Brianna Brafford was arrested as well, and the children were placed in protective custody with the Wyoming Department of Family Services.
DFS agents said their department became involved with the family around Aug. 8, when the Braffords were evicted from the hotel room they were living in at Motel 6. The family was provided living arrangements at that time.
On Sept. 22, DFS became involved with the family again. The Braffords were again living out of a hotel room; they had no food for the children or baby formula. The two school-aged children had not attended school to that date.
On Nov. 1, DFS helped the family get into the apartment on South Beverly. Several home checks by DFS agents since then had revealed unsanitary conditions. Safety plans were subsequently put in place, but the Braffords had not followed through, according to court documents.
On Nov. 30, a safety plan was put in place to address the diarrhea left on the bathroom floor. It was not cleaned up when the agents returned the following day. The children also reported physical fighting between the Braffords.
As of Dec. 4, one child had missed 50 days of school. Another missed 37 days.
Both Braffords tested positive for meth after providing urine samples. Brianna Brafford reportedly denied using, and claimed she tested positive because she had sex with Rodney Brafford, who she said had recently used.