Couple Charged; Girl, 11, Removed From Home in Filthy Conditions: Police

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A routine probation check on a man with a “long history” of drug violations and his girlfriend, who had a child abuse conviction, led to the arrest of the couple after the woman’s 11-year-old daughter was found in filthy conditions in a home where fake heroin was allegedly being held for sale, Glendale police said Thursday.


Vanessa Hidalgo, 36, and Thomas Casillas, 38, were in custody after their home was found unfit for Hidalgo’s 11-year-old daughter. (Credit: Glendale Police Department)

Thomas Casillas, 38, and Vanessa Hidalgo, 36, were taken into custody on March 18 after the home they shared in the 4700 block of Eagle Rock Boulevard (map) was found to be in “complete disarray,” according to Glendale police.

“The residence … smelled of urine/feces and rotting food,” a police probation violation arrest report read.

The pair has been charged with child abuse and possession of ammunition, which is illegal for felons, according to Tahnee Lightfoot of the Glendale Police Department.

She described the home as having “extremely unsanitary conditions.”

The pair “did willfully and unlawfully, under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm and death, injure, cause, and permit a child … to suffer and to be inflicted with unjustifiable physical pain and mental suffering,” states a criminal complaint filed against them.

Hidalgo was convicted of child abuse in 2001 and had a 1998 conviction for welfare fraud, according to the complaint. She was on probation for her role in a 2008 gang-related shooting, the Los Angeles Times reported.


Police said these Items were found in the home where Thomas Casillas, 38, and Vanessa Hidalgo lived with Hidalgo’s 11-year-old daughter. (Credit: Glendale Police Department)

Hidalgo’s 11-year-old daughter was placed in the custody of the county Department of Children and Family Services, Lightfoot said. The child had since been placed with her grandmother, Lightfoot said.

Casillas had previous narcotics and weapons convictions, and was on probation for 2012 drug charge, Lightfoot said.

Pipes for smoking methamphetamine and drug-packing materials were found in the home, Lightfoot confirmed.

What appeared to be heroin was also found, but Casillas said it was Mexican candy, Lightfoot also confirmed.

“Further investigation revealed (Casillas was) selling fake heroin,” the police report stated. “Basically (Casillas) was passing off Mexican candy that resembled heroin.”

Casillas was being held without bail at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic, while Hidalgo was being held on $100,000 bail at Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, online county inmate records show.

Both Casillas and Hidalgo were due in court April 2, inmate records show. They had pleaded not guilty on March 20, according to a spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.