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Parents of 4 children charged with child abuse

MAPLETON -- The parents of a family of four children ages 5 months to 13 years face felony child abuse charges after investigators discovered the children living in a wet trailer home covered with dirt and mold.

Misty Renee Byrd, 31, of Dickinson, was charged Monday in Cass County District Court with four counts of Class C felony abuse or neglect of a child. Nathan James Roper, who is 39 or 40, of Mapleton, was charged Aug. 8 with three of the same counts.

Documents filed with the case state that law enforcement officers discovered filthy conditions in Roper's trailer in Mapleton, where the four children were living. There was a hole in the ceiling panels with what appeared to be mold growing on them, and there was a towel turning brown on top of the electrical box under the hole in the ceiling.

Walls and ceilings in the trailer also appeared to be growing mold, the complaint stated.

The carpet was so wet with moisture from the trailer not sealing correctly that it felt mushy underfoot, according to one officer. There was also mold growing on one of the children's mattresses, and a large number of flies in the trailer.

Court dates for the couple have not been set. A warrant for Byrd's arrest was issued Wednesday.