Police find children in home with bugs, gas leak

When Utica Police responded to reports of a domestic dispute on Howard Avenue Friday night, they not only found an arguing couple, but also cockroaches, an apartment without heat and children walking through broken glass.

Both the man and woman were taken into custody for endangering the welfare of their two children, law enforcers said.

Police said they were called to the home of Abraham Kuol, 31, and Panda Madet, 21, at 1663 Howard Ave. at 11:13 p.m. Friday in response to a domestic dispute.

Upon arrival, the officers first noticed a strong smell of natural gas, and discovered that two gas burners on the stove had been left in the ‘on’ position. There were no pilot lights, so the gas flowed freely throughout the apartment. A gas leak was later discovered near the rear of the stove.

Police said they also found a large amount of cockroaches crawling on the walls and floors, and several dead cockroaches in the freezer. The only other thing they found in the freezer was a single piece of chicken lying out of the package. The refrigerator and the cupboards were completely bare.

A 1-year-old child and a 2-month-old were living in the residence, police said. The 1-year-old was seen walking through several pieces of broken glass that had been left on the floor, and police said Kuol and Madet refused to pick up the glass.

The 2-month-old was found lying on the back edge of a couch and had been left unattended, police said. There was also no heat in the apartment in the middle of January, with temperatures dipping down in the teens and 20s.

County Child Protective Services was called, and they took both children into their care because of the neglect.

Police said Kuol and Madet were both charged with two counts each of endangering the welfare of a child.