Adults arrested after children found in filthy homes

A Cobb County couple was arrested for allowing two children to live inside a home filled with roaches, trash and animal feces, arrest warrants show.

The couple’s arrests last Thursday came on the same day three adults in Gwinnett County were arrested on similar charges.

Carlton and Sharon Hightower, of a Powder Springs address, were arrested Thursday morning in a Cobb County juvenile court and charged with two counts each of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, jail booking records show. Sharon Hightower was also charged with first degree cruelty to children.

The Hightowers allegedly allowed two children, ages 14 months and 9 years, to live in a home with deplorable conditions. In addition, the baby was found to have blistering and severe diaper rash, Sharon Hightower’s warrant stated.

“Her diaper was filled with urine and feces and appeared to not have been changed in the last 24 hours,” the warrant states. “An odor was also evident about the child. Accused is a ‘stay at home mom’ with the child and has no employment outside the home.”

Inside the Hightowers’ home, investigators found roach infestation, rotting garbage and animal feces and urine, the warrants stated.

Carlton Hightower was released Friday afternoon after posting $15,000 bond, and Sharon Hightower was released early Saturday after posting $20,000 bond, jail records show.

Also last week, three adults were arrested after investigators found nine children living in filthy conditions, Gwinnett County police said.

An anonymous tip led investigators to a Lawrenceville-area home, where inside they found deplorable conditions for the children, ranging in age from a newborn to 9 years old.

“There was a large amount of trash,” Cpl. Jake Smith told Channel 2 Action News. “The home was in disrepair, the walls and the ceiling, (there was) mold, fecal matter from animals.”

Police arrested and charged Rebecca Black, Jerry Towler and Jessica Towler with multiple counts of reckless conduct and child cruelty. Police believe Black is mother to five of the children, including the infant, the Towlers had four children of their own.

All three were booked into the Gwinnett County jail Thursday and later released.

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