The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Friday, July 12, 2002  

Couple Holds Child in Squalor

There truly has to be a special place in hell for people like Chicago residents Cynarae Colbert and Chris Rodriguez.

Their transgression?

According to a report in today’s Chicago Tribune, Colbert and Rodriguez for two years kept a seven-year-old boy who was not their child out of school and living in disgraceful squalor.

The boy, who may or may not be related to Colbert, jumped from a second-story window Wednesday after having been locked in a pantry for two days in order to escape what the Tribune called an “apartment strewn with garbage and feces.”

The child hadn’t been to school in two years and was rarely if ever seen by neighbors. His name was not released by authorities and in fact could not readily be determined.

Colbert and Rodriguez were charged Thursday with several misdemeanor counts of child neglect and child endangerment. The boy will be placed with foster parents after he is released from Cook County Hospital, according to the Tribune.

It took Angel Resto and three others hired by the apartment manager hours to clean up the mess inside the apartment. “Wearing filtered masks, rubber gloves and disposable bodysuits, Resto and his co-workers carried snow shovels into the apartment to begin clearing out the mounds of trash,” the Tribune reports.

“When you first walk in the front door you have to push hard to open it past all the garbage and debris. You make a left into the living room and all over the place there is garbage stacked as tall as me,” Resto told the Tribune

The details of the story are astonishing. Not only that the boy was so badly mistreated but that he fell so far between the cracks. It doesn’t take a bleeding heart to wonder, at the very least, why such horrible things happen in this country.

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