GREENFIELD — A Greenfield mother has pleaded guilty in Hancock Circuit Court to neglect charges.
Police said she used drugs in front of her children, beat them with belts and coat hangers, deprived them of food and forced them to live in a dirty, cockroach-infested home.
Michelle Wilson, 33, was sentenced to a year in the Hancock County Jail followed by a year on probation after she pleaded guilty to five Level 6 felony charges of neglect of a dependent, one charge for each of her five young children.
Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said Wilson was given a two-year sentence for each charge, but state law requires the time be served concurrently. She’ll be able to complete that time in Hancock County Community Corrections and must cooperate with further monitoring by the Department of Child Services.
Wilson’s children will remain in foster care until her sentence is complete, Eaton said. She will be allowed to have supervised visits with them.
Wilson and her husband, Craig Corbett, 37, were arrested after their children — all 9 or younger — told police their parents regularly used drugs in front of them, calling the drugs “grown-up medicine that little kids can’t take.” The oldest boy told police Wilson once encouraged him to try marijuana.
The children knew the “medicine” their parents used was called “pot” and “crack,” and each child was able to draw paraphernalia to show how their parents ingested the drugs, according to court records.
The children told police Wilson and Corbett were often violent with them, court records state; the children often were beaten with belts and coat hangers and sometimes were punched, police said.
One child told police Wilson often talked about killing herself, and she threatened to kill the children when she got angry, court records state.
When investigators searched the couple’s home in the 200 block of Gaslite Lane in Greenfield, they discovered the family had been living in an apartment that was infested with cockroaches, soiled with animal waste and filled with piles of garbage, court records state.
The property owner told police he sent an exterminator to the apartment to handle the bug problem, but Wilson and Corbett wouldn’t let the man inside, court documents state.
There was no hot water in the home; the children told investigators they took baths once every few days with water heated on the stove, reports state. The home’s bathroom door was locked from the inside, and investigators detached the doorknob in order to gain access. When the doorknob was removed, “roaches rushed through the hole and up the door,” police said.
A Greenfield building inspector and a Hancock County Health Department environmental health specialist were both called to the home to assist in the investigation. Both officials told police the structure was not up to code and could not be lived in, court records state.
Wilson and Corbett were ordered to leave the apartment until the property was cleaned and reinspected by the health department, but the couple returned to the home a few days later, violating the police order, court records state. They were arrested in early October.
Each of the neglect charges Wilson faced carried a penalty of six months to 2½ years.
Corbett also faces five Level 6 felony charges of neglect of a dependent. He remains in the Hancock County Jail on a $1,000 bond, as his case is pending, Eaton said.