Five Women Arrested After 20 Children Were Removed from 'Uninhabitable' California Home

High Desert Detention Center (Image via Google/screengrab)
High Desert Detention Center (Image via Google/screengrab)

Five women were arrested in Victorville, California on Thursday morning after authorities found 20 children and 20 dogs in a home they described as “uninhabitable.”

The children, who ranged in age from 2 1/s months to 17 years old, were removed by the Department of Children and Family Services, the Los Angeles Times reports. Animal Control dealt with extricating the dogs, though two of them were already dead when investigators arrived. None of the animals had access to water, and it sounds as if no one in the house had access to adequate food. In addition to those issues, the building itself was beset by black mold.

A statement from the San Bernardino County sheriff’s office offers additional horrific details:

“The home was found to be uninhabitable, with several serious health and safety issues. There was an insufficient amount of food in the home for the five adults and 20 children living there. The sleeping conditions were inadequate, there was no electricity or gas, and the carpet, walls, and furniture were in severe disrepair.”


The women arrested were identified as Matosha Martinez, 35; Cherish Lewis, 22; Dajanet Smith, 25; Thereca Griffin, 42; and Virginia Mann, 61. All were arrested on child cruelty charges, with Martinez and Mann additionally charged with suspicion of being under a controlled substance.

Night blogger at Jezebel

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Victorville is a shithole. Was there for work last week and had to cut short filling my gas tank because I felt my personal safety was at risk at the station. It’s in the high desert where there’s lots of land and space to do whatever the fuck you want without people knowing. I know situations like this exist but it still turns my stomach whenever I hear about them. Those poor kids and animals. I hope that they find some place safe after this (oh, and fuck those women, really).