20 Children, 20 Dogs Removed From ‘Uninhabitable’ Victorville Home; 5 Women Arrested: Police

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Five women were arrested Thursday after 20 children and 20 dogs were removed from a home in Victorville because of alleged "uninhabitable" conditions," police said.

Deputies responded around 10:45 a.m. to the residence, in the 15800 block of Eto Camino Road, to help the Department of Children and Family Services remove the kids from the home, according to a Friday afternoon Victorville Police Department news release.

Officials said they found multiple "serious health and safety issues," including an insufficient amount of food for the 25 occupants, inadequate sleeping conditions, black mold, and no electricity or gas, the release stated. The carpet, walls and furniture were also all in serious disrepair.

Trash, broken toys and human waste could be seen outside the home, while inside, dishes and ash trays were piled.

Twenty children between the ages of 2 months and 17 years old were taken from the home, according to police.

Animal Control removed 20 dogs from the home, including two who were dead. The pets had no access to water, the release said.

Five women were arrested and booked on suspicion of child cruelty at the High Desert Detention Center. They were identified as: Matosha Martinez, 35; Virginia Mann, 61; Cherish Lewis, 22; Dajanet Smith, 25; and Thereca Griffin, 42, according to police.

Martinez and Mann also faced an additional charge of being under the influence of a controlled substance.

Neighbor Larry Marts said several men ran off and avoided being arrested by authorities.

Neighbors told KTLA that they were happy to see authorities step in and do something about the conditions of the house.

The Department of Children and Family Services removed all of the children and are now in their care.

An investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information is encouraged to call Victorville police at 760-241-2911. Those who would like to remain anonymous can contact the We-Tip Hotline by dialing 1-800-782-7463.

KTLA's Cindy Von Quednow contributed to this story.