Parents charged with keeping daughters in squalor

unsanitary house
Philadelphia 35th District patrol car sits in front of 4846 N. 9th St. ( white row house) at left after children were allegedly removed after police found the home to be unsanitary. Photograph from Thursday morning August 8, 2013. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )

Three little girls were removed from their Olney home Thursday and taken to a hospital after detectives serving a warrant found them in appalling conditions, police said.

Their parents - Soyika Eldemire, 25, and Lakeeshanaye Overton, 24 - were arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of the children, ages 1, 3, and 4, police said.

Police said Northwest Division detectives went to the house on the 4800 block of North Ninth Street about 9 a.m. to serve a warrant on Overton, the girls' mother, for simple assault stemming from a domestic dispute.

In a statement, police said that detectives found the floors, furniture, and a playpen covered with feces, trash, and "unknown fluids."

The children were dressed only in diapers, and there were no cribs or beds for them, police said.

Appalled by the conditions, the detectives called the Special Victims Unit, which investigates crimes against children, police said.

The girls were taken to St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, where they were examined. They were later released.

Police said the girls were placed in the custody of the city Department of Human Services for placement, possibly with relatives.