3 charged including ex-DCS employee after TN children found living in filthy conditions

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A former Department of Children’s Services employee, and two others, are facing charges following a case of child abuse.

The Hardeman County Sheriff’s Office and Whiteville Police Department say they executed a search warrant at a home on Rocky Springs Road in Saulsbury, Tennessee. They were investigating crimes against children at the home that came in as a tip.

Investigators say they found six girls, ages 9 to 14, living in squalid conditions.

According to investigators, seven officers threw up outside the house after they entered. Neighbors said they saw many dead animals around the home as well.

“When you walk in the house now, it’s piled up with garbage. Nothing but garbage, and rats as big as possums,” said a neighbor.

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Joshua Patterson was arrested and charged with 15 different charges, including six counts of aggravated child abuse and neglect and four counts of aggravated cruelty to animals.

Misti Tincher was also charged with multiple counts of child abuse and cruelty to animals.

Former DCS agent Denica Marcell is also charged in the case. She is facing charges of official misconduct and accessory after the fact.

The incident report says DCS records show she falsified reports involving the six children. The state says she is no longer employed with DCS.

Marcell is currently out on a $25,000 bond.

Joshua Patterson, Misti Ticher, Denicia Marcell (Hardeman County Sheriff’s Office)

According to the incident report, the house had a collapsed ceiling, as well as mold, animal feces, and a severe roach infestation.

A neighbor who doesn’t want to be identified says whenever the kids came over, they brought roaches and lice with them.

The girls reportedly suffered from poor hygiene and neglect, despite being under the supervision of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

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“I gave them beds and bunk beds, they never used them. I don’t know where they sleep at. I walked to the back door, I probably got to the kitchen area, I seen a big rat cross me and I said ‘I’m leaving.’ Them jokers are big and they’re not running from you,” said the neighbor.

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