Lost naked toddler leads deputies to squalid home; 8 children removed

Posted at 12:13 AM, Aug 28, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-28 07:35:00-04

SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. (WTVR) - The discovery of a naked toddler outside a Virginia Wawa led deputies to a house overrun with filth.

Spotsylvania County deputies say eight children ranging from 7-months to 16-years-old, are now living in cleaner homes after the arrest of their mothers. The woman are charged with eight counts of felony child neglect.

Crystal Dawn Craig, 29, is charged with 3 counts of felony child neglect. (PHOTO: Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office)

The convenience store is just off busy Courthouse Road in Spotsylvania.  "She could've been hit by a car or worse,” said Joseph Hall, who lives nearby.“ Someone could've snatched her, knowing people in this area."

The two-year-old girl was discovered by a Wawa employee. She was wandering alone in the parking lot at 10:30 Sunday morning and not wearing any clothes.

“The girl was able to point out to a deputy that she lived nearby," said First Sgt. J. Konicki.

That deputy walked the little girl home, only to be met at the front door of the house with a foul smell.

“A horrendous odor of rotten food, animal feces and urine was coming from the inside of the home," said Konicki.

Amy Elizabeth Lam, 38, is charged with 5 counts of felony child neglect (PHOTO: Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office)

Deputies say it took almost ten minutes to get Crystal Dawn Craig and Amy Elizabeth Lam to come to the door. According to deputies, both moms lived inside with eight children, including the two-year-old girl.

“The living conditions were deplorable, including mattresses with no sheets on the floor," said Konicki.

A Special Victims Unit was called in and the children were taken into custody by Child Protective Services and later released to their grandmothers.  One of the children was seen loading up belongings into the back of a car Monday afternoon.

Alicia Fullerton, who comes to the Wawa often, says the little girl wandering away may have been a blessing in disguise.

“If she never got out, those children would still be suffering in that filth,” said Fullerton.  “Although it's bad she got out, now they can get help."

Craig and Lam were denied bond Monday morning.

In addition to their eight children, deputies say seven dogs and two kittens also lived in the house.  The animals are now with animal control.