Children found in squalid home, mother arrested
by Lindsay Field
July 04, 2012 01:14 AM | 5254 views | 27 27 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SMYRNA — Children living in filthy homes is the unpleasant task that detectives in the Cobb County Crimes Against Children Unit deal with on a weekly basis.

Shannon Lynn Byers, 42, was arrested Friday around 7:30 p.m. on three counts of misdemeanor contributing to the deprivation of a minor. She was released on a $2,500 bond just before 3 p.m. Saturday, according to the jail records.

Sgt. Dana Pierce with Cobb Police said an officer was called to Byers’ rental home in the 2700 block of Gray Road in Smyrna after the landlord did not receive rent from her.

“The officer met with the landlord and went to the carport door and there was one of three children inside who answered the door but would not allow the officer or landlord to come in,” Pierce said. “While talking to the child, the officer convinced him everything was OK and at some point they went in and discovered the filth that had apparently taken over the home.”

The mother was not at home at the time but Pierce said the officer saw open bags of trash, half-eaten food in the kitchen sink, visible dirt on the floor and walls, a backed up toilet with insects throughout the house, no adequate furniture for the children, trash piled in the corners, trash outside in the back yard and a broken air conditioning unit.

Byers was arrested at the scene and the children were taken to the local hospital by ambulance and later put in protective custody.

Video below is courtesy of our news partner Fox 5 Atlanta


“This is just something that detectives in the Cobb County Crimes Against Children Unit deal with weekly,” Pierce said. “As quickly as one discovers something to this magnitude, contact the authorities by dialing 911.”

Once law enforcement is contacted, someone will respond to the scene immediately.

“(The officer will) determine that there is criminal activity that involves children, then they contact our Crimes Against Children Unit and open a case file into the situation,” he said.
Comments
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Corruptness
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July 08, 2012
I honestly believe this landlord has some kind of political ties with both the government and the police department.
Video?
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July 08, 2012
What is the point of the video here anyway? I see an place cleaner than mine on the outside. What was with the shot of the doorbell? I need a new doorbell and mine looks worse than what is in the video. I don't get the video at all. It looks like a well kept place to me in the video. You should see my place on garbage day because I don't have garbage pickup but once a week and I have complained that is not enough.
Stewart bstantl
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July 08, 2012
mk sounds like a disturbed person to me. He/she says, "Hickory Lake Apartments that the city of Smyrna just spent 14 MILLION of citizens tax money on! (to give us just another unsightly vacant lot!!" I beg to differ. I drive by there every day and it is not another unsightly vacant lot. It is just another undeveloped piece of land loaded with opportunity. You can't even see in there...all you can see driving by the old apartments is greenery. Lord, man/woman, get a life. Go drive in East Cobb and you will see many, many undeveloped pieces of land. I think mk needs to find a job or a hobby other than hatred.
What???
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July 08, 2012
I reported to Cobb County a woman in her 90s living in a "hoarder's" home where you just look into the front door and see a real horror scene just like out of the TV show "Hoarder's." This home also houses at least 10, if not more, cats and numerous unkempt litter boxes. The police did absolutely nothing. They said this lady was not in danger. This is a two-story (actually three-story) home where the person in charge is in her upper 60s and says it is a "miracle" every day and night to get the woman up and down the stairs. I don't know what the police saw in the home about this article that they didn't see in the 90-year-old's home, but I sure didn't see it in the video provided.
Some People..Well..
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July 08, 2012
This is probably a dead post, but I have to comment on the comment: "The reality is that all that seems to be encouraged in this swath of Cobb (Gray Road article) is poor, lower class businesses and people!" Well, I beg to differ because I live in this "swath of Cobb" and I make over $80,000 a year. I am glad you do not live in the city of Atlanta. There are paupers living next door to $1 million houses. What an insult a reader threw at me. What a HUGE insult. Trust me, not all people off Gray Road are "poor, lower class businesses and people." Try telling Publix that....

Babegirl
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July 06, 2012
The landlord tries to look like a victim well what he's not telling is she has notified him on multiple occasions on the a/c not working and the mold in the house she has written statements from neighbors and witnesses he does not stay on top of everything that is wrong with the property and what's failed to mention she was arrested on Friday bonded out on saterday her hearing was Monday all charges were dropped and kids were returned to her custody. And how is it all the mother the only one that can't really do anything is the 5 year old the other 2 are teenagers?
Pam J
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July 05, 2012
I believe that Gray Road is considered to be in Smyrna. Not the city limits, though. So it was correct that Cobb County came out. While I believe that a little dirt, a few insects and no air conditioning won't harm a child, a lot of dirt and a lot of insects will. We grew up without air conditioning (1950's and 1960's) and we survived just fine. Since I didn't see the inside of the house, we have to believe what everybody else is telling us.
The Landlord
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July 05, 2012
I bought this home nearly 20 years ago, long before the "downturn" in real estate. At the time of purchase it was neither distressed nor was it near foreclosure. The home is worth less now than I paid for it. My intention then, as now, was to invest in real property for the mutual ultimate benefit of both me and my tenants, over time. That continues to be my intention. I do own other homes in and around Smyrna. None was purchased under distress or on the court house steps. I do not live in a gated community, nor have I "disappeared". I live in Mableton, and have for many years. I live only 10 minutes from this home. I endeavor to provide sanitary and safe homes to those in the market to rent in the under $1000/mo. bracket. All I ask in return is that my tenants treat me and my property as well as I attempt to treat them. I respond promptly to each and every call and request, regardless of its nature. I have only seen this sort of blatant disregard for basic human decency three times in my long career as a landlord. It represents a clear example of nothing less than a breach of human decency when a tenant strays this far from her responsibility as this tenant and mother has from me and her three minor children.
mk-smyrna is poor
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July 05, 2012
For all you people that, no matter what the crime, your kneejerk reaction is " Its NOT in the city limits"!

Smyrna city, smyrna address, unincorporated--it's all the same!

The reality is that all that seems to be encouraged in this swath of Cobb , is poor, lower class businesses and people!

Same thing happened w/ the 'super meth lab' run by mexican drug cartel-(6 houses out of city limits), the brutal beating death of Iraq soldier, Zach Gamble (several blocks from city limits) and this CRIME & the ILLEGAL ALIEN BARRIO TRAILER PARK,.. is a mere few blocks from the Hickory Lake Apartments that the city of Smyrna just spent 14 MILLION of citizens tax money on! (to give us just another unsightly vacant lot!!

City limits, or unincorporated,.. all this head in the sand syndrome everyone has out here,.. is EXACTLY why Smyrna is considered an outdated UNattractive city going NOWHERE!!
The Landlord
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July 05, 2012
You can only imagine my surprise and sadness at discovering such deplorable conditions existed in a rental that I own. I can only imagine the psychological scars that the three minor children will have to deal with moving forward. I was aware that the mom was living month to month financially, and had been doing so for most of her tenancy. Recently, it had become increasingly difficult for her to pay the rent and utilities due each month. It wasn't until she could now longer pay at all that I insisted other living arrangements be made. I became especially concerned about the condition of the inside of the home when I was flatly denied access for a visual inspection. On Friday afternoon after a series of events, I called the police. My plan was to be escorted inside the home by an officer. We entered the home together and discovered all that you’ve no doubt read and seen in various local news reports. It is the worst case of filth I’ve witnessed in nearly 20 years as a landlord. Looking back, I remain thankful that something told me to call the police when I did. I sensed there was something illegal going on in the home, but I had no idea that I would find what I did. You should remain proud of our law enforcement officers and special services personnel who arrived promptly and acted professionally each step of the way. Kudos to them. Now the challenge for me is that I must wait for the courts to process the eviction (likely a month or more) before I can legally do much more to reclaim, rehab and re-rent my property. The home is infested with roaches and who knows what else. It will be expensive.
concerned citizen
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July 05, 2012
Where do you live, landlord? And do you own other properties in these poor Cobb/Smyrna/Marietta/Austell/Mableton/Powder Springs/6 Flags neighborhoods?

I'm just asking.

A lot of the problem out here is the investors that come in, scoop up a bunch of cheap homes & foreclosures, do minimal maintenance, then disappear, collecting rent from afar.

FYI, the landlords of the super meth lab,... that left a huge black eye on Smyrna, owned quite a few rental homes in the area, but he & his wife live in a high dollar gated community in Alpharetta!!
Pam J
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July 05, 2012
concerned citizen, what difference does it make where the landlord lives? People have the right to buy houses and rent them out. Even if they live in gated communities. It's a business. And this house, except for the garbage outside, looked okay from the outside. It did not appear to be an eyesore. When you rent a house to somebody, you trust that they won't destroy the house. I think that's only fair.
PostalGuy
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July 05, 2012
If the address was within the city limits of Smyrna then Smyrna Police would have investigated. Since Cobb County Police investigated it was in un incorporated Cobb County. Mailing addresses are not the same as city limits. For example, you can live in rural Cobb County and still have a Marietta mailing address.
thisISacrime
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July 05, 2012
For all of you saying that filth is not a crime... it would be far different if it was her own home. But this was a rental home-- meaning she was destroying someone else's property. THAT IS A CRIME! The first house I lived in as a child was rented to a family for a few months after their house burned down, and they completely destroyed it in a similar manner. We never got any compensation because my parents didn't want to affect their innocent children with a lawsuit. Also, one of those children was in my class and she had very severe asthma and FLEAS, which may very well have been the result of the condition of her home. I expect that the landlord is going to have to deal with the thousands of dollars of damage without any compensation from his irresponsible tenant!
anonymous
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July 05, 2012
--RE: But this was a rental home-- meaning she was destroying someone else's property. THAT IS A CRIME!--

I missed that part you must have seen that indicated that her landlord had complained or that she was being charged with "destroying someone else's property".

KennesawBeliever
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July 05, 2012
This is NOT an economic problem! This is a problem of a person who obviously takes no care for herself, her children or her home. To make this a political statement or a statement against law enforcement or even an economic statement is pathetic. I've been homeless and lived in a car and managed to keep it clean!..... this is about someone who does need help and helping children who are not getting proper care from their parent(s)... obviously the 17-year-old has NO role model on how to take care of things and that is sad. The children are the losers here. But put the blame where blame is due - on the parent.
Robert Hand
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July 05, 2012
Economic problems everywhere---middle class becomes the homeless poor---a lot of this is from 8 years of G.W Bush---8 years of unnecessary war we could not afford----my parents were born in 1923, grew up during the depression, they lived in some very depressing situations, children were considered adults at 14--- this lady is probably not a bad person. Certainly not a matter for the police.
Blame Bush?
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July 05, 2012
Bit of a stretch, don't you think? Financial hardship is one thing, living in squalor is a completely different matter.

Thoughts that come to mind include mental illness, substance abuse, delinquent parenting. This lady needs help. Is there a father anywhere in the picture?

I feel sorry for the landlord. He's out rent money and damages.
anonymous
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July 06, 2012
RE: Bit of a stretch, don't you think? -

Blame Bush?, the problem is that people like Robert Hand don't think. They will automatically repeat what they have been hearing others tell them without ever going thru an honest intellectual evaluation of the statements they are repeating. That their critical statements really have no logical connection to an issue they are commenting on is of no consequence to people like Robert Hand. Logic and independent thinking are simply not applied by these people.
Sicken and Hurt
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July 04, 2012
This makes me sick, I am infetile due to conditions I cannot help. I want to hear those words mommy and daddy so bad!This woman deserves to have my issue. Why does life have to be like this to good people?????????? I hope these children get a home they deserve to be shown lots of love.
anonymous
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July 04, 2012
Just learned that the kids were aged 5, 14 and 17. These were NOT youngsters who should not be left at home alone. Although the article wants to lead us to the conclusion that these were a bunch of babies being left alone.

It really is all about how filthy the house was.

It is disgusting that the way Cobb police deal with this situation is to ARREST the mother. There is a bigger problem here and jail isn't helping do anything but justify why we "need" more cops.

In the days when cops had sense...a call to a charity/church out reach would have been made. Now we throw people with a problem in jail (I am sure she'll have an easy time making bail...and perhaps she will still have her job when she gets out.

Cobb Police should be ashamed. This is not being "tough on crime". This is "we are government police workers and we are too dumb to use common sense". This is fast becoming Cobb County today.

What?..
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July 05, 2012
These are underage children according to law, I guess you too leave your kids alone like this... ASHAME on you to say this is ok!!!
anonymous
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July 05, 2012
What?.., are you telling us that a 17 year old is too young to be baby sitting? Are you telling us that to allow a 17 year old to baby sit, a parent should be held responsible for "child endangerment"? Or are you just telling us that a dirty house is "child endangerment" that should not be tolerated? Or are you telling us that the police should be making sure we all have clean houses?

anonymous
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July 04, 2012
Filth? That's the crime? Really? Cobb Police are now enforcing laws against "filth"? The filth police? Give me a break.

At least it was only three kids and not a herd of 6 kids with a 23 y/o "mother".
no, not smyrna!!
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July 04, 2012


This is the real Smyrna the city doesn't acknowledge!!

Check the huge 'illegal alien' trailer park next door on Gray Road!!

Bet every trailer is in a code violation!

Wonder whose turning a blind eye!?!

Absolutely disgusting!!
Compassionate
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July 05, 2012
I don't think Gray Road is in Smyrna -- I think it is in Marietta. I live off of Smyrna Powder Springs Road and never even heard of Gray Road until you spoke of it before in a post. I checked it out and I do, in fact, live very close to this trailer park. I have lived where I live for over 13 years and have never been the victim of a crime. I have driven past Gray Road probably 500,000 times and have never seen a problem. Some people are poor. How do you know the people that live in this trailer park are 'illegal aliens'? How do you know that? I don't find it disgusting because I don't know the people that live there...they could very well be very loving families that are not as fortunate as you and I. You sound very prejudiced.
Not Marietta
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July 05, 2012
Gray Road may have a Marietta mailing address.....not sure. But it is not in the city limits. It is either in Smyrna city limits or more likely in unincorporated Cobb County.
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