When life gets busy, we can put things off. Necessary and good things, like doing laundry or vacuuming — promising ourselves that once we make it to the weekend, we’ll catch up on all those little things.
When the fridge is empty but we have no time to stock it, we either survive on a hodgepodge assortment of base ingredients or eat primarily fast food.
It sounds like every college student ever, but when you’re learning to care for yourself and your space, there will be growing pains. When you have to balance all those things for the sake of a family, the responsibility is much greater.
And the consequences of repeatedly failing to live up to that responsibility, putting your own family into harm’s way, is devastating.
Charlotte Lewis, 48, worked at Montefiore Hospital as a nurse. Her 59-year-old husband, Wilfred Lewis, worked for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Despite their careers, their apartment in the Bronx was in a condition unsuitable for living. Sadly, not only were they living in the apartment anyway, but so were their children.
The mother and father have a 15-year-old boy, 13-year-old girl, 12-year-old girl, and 5 year-old boy. On Jan. 26, a FedEx worker became an unlikely hero for those children.
It was 11:30 a.m. on Friday when he approached the apartment to deliver a package. The 5-year-old answered the door.
His parents were gone, and his siblings were at school. That fact that the young boy was home alone and answering the door alarmed the FedEx worker, so he contacted the police.
His alarm was for good reason. According to the boy’s discussion with the police, he last saw his parents the night before.
The apartment was infested with roaches and rats. Smears of blood were found throughout the apartment as well as human feces on the walls.
It only gets worse: there were also bed bugs, maggots, live and dead rodents, and trash in the place four children had to call home. To top it all off, the fridge was empty.
Parents of 5-year-old boy found home alone last night in despicable living conditions set to be arraigned shortly. Investigators say apartment in the Bronx was full of feces on the wall, infested with rats and roaches. Mom is nurse at Montefiore Hospital. Dad is an MTA employee. pic.twitter.com/rwZxGA3qTM
— CeFaan Kim (@CeFaanKim) January 27, 2018
Charlotte was arrested once the authorities found her at work. She was charged with four counts of failure to exercise control of a minor.
Charlotte Lewis was — at the time — working as a nurse. It’s strange and sadly ironic that someone working to improve the health of others could be so oblivious of the state of her own children, who she is supposed to love and care for more than the people she meets on the job.
Wilfred had the nerve to call his 5-year-old son “self-sufficient,” according the New York Post. He surrendered at the 50th Precinct station house and was also charged four counts of failure to exercise control of a minor plus endangering a child.
The Administration for Children’s Services has custody of the four children. They were taken to Montefiore Hospital to be examined and treated.
Wilfred and Charlotte Lewis are supposed to appear in court in February where justice can be served. Whatever was in the package being delivered, it could not have been as valuable as the Fed-Ex worker’s instinct to get police involved, which led to the removal of the children from these horrifying conditions.
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