PARKER COUNTY, Texas — An execution of a search warrant by Parker County Sheriff's investigators led to one of the worst cases the department has investigated in at least a decade, officials say.
Authorities say investigators executed the search warrant Thursday night near the 5000 block of Upper Denton Road.
“It was one of the nastiest, filthiest places that I have ever been," said Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler.
“It ranks right up there with the worst I have ever seen in 50 plus years of this business," he said.
Thursday's search warrant stemmed from a case that was reported in September.
According to officials, at that time, four children were removed by Texas Department of Family and Protective Services from the same location because of parental drug use, child neglect and poor living conditions.
The children ranged in age from 6 to 15 years old.
Detectives say while the children were in foster care, the youngest child made allegations of sexual abuse and child pornography against their stepfather, Colton Lackey, 20.
Investigators say the child previously told their mother, Amanda Fuller, 34, about the alleged sexual abuse, but she didn't report it to law enforcement.
Upon arriving at the residence Thursday, animal control officers found several malnourished animals, officials say.
They said one dog was found chained to the living room floor inside the trailer living in feces and trash. Several other dogs were found chained to a bed and outside in the yard.
“Basically, the investigation was so vast that sheriff’s deputies, sheriff’s animal control officers and investigators with the Parker County Special Crimes and Criminal Investigations Division were involved,” Fowler said. “Collecting evidence from the home took more than four hours.”
The children had been living a mobile home trailer on the property, while the mother and stepfather lived in a separate camper trailer nearby, authorities said.
"All kids stay out" was scrawled across the mother and stepfather's bedroom door.
“I’m a mother," said Heather Huffman, a crime scene technician who gathered evidence at the scene. "I’ve got kids. I’ve got babies. It’s just heartbreaking.”
“You get the job done, and then you go home and you hug your kids and you hold on to them," she said.
Upon searching the house Thursday, detectives found two baggies of a crystal substance that tested positive for meth, along with drug paraphernalia, one dozen cellphones, digital cameras, several laptops and computer discs.
Parker County investigators said the suspects, Lackey and Fuller tested positive for using meth.
“Their drug tests registered to the highest levels detectable,” Fowler said.
The sheriff says the investigation is ongoing and both suspects are expected to face more charges.
The couple was booked into the Parker County Jail. Their bonds have not been set yet, officials say.
Lackey faces a charge of indecency with a child by sexual contact, a traffic warrant and failure to appear. Fuller will face a charge of possession of a controlled substance.
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