Police in hazmat suits search home where boy found in filth

Hazmat ready police officers search Wingate home

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Springs Police investigators in hazmat gear spent an hour Friday night searching the home where a 13-year-old boy was allegedly found living among live and dead rodents and human feces.

The home at 6120 Corinth Drive belongs to former Springs city council member Charles Wingate and his wife Sharon Starkey. The couple was ticketed for misdemeanor child neglect Thursday after police got a "check the welfare" call.

Police said the boy, Wingate's son, is autistic and was naked and home alone when they found him. They said he told them he doesn't remember ever being out of the home.

The couple was away from the home when police arrived, but were cited when they returned. Their home has been condemned and it's unclear where the pair is staying now.

Most neighbors said they had never seen the boy. A few said they had last seen him years ago.

"We'd see him outside playing all the time until five or six years ago," said neighbor Mike Lopour. "And we haven't seen him."

Lopour said he regrets not doing more.

"It's what my wife and I were talking about last night," he said. "When we didn't see him, we should have called someone."

Five CSPD investigators reacted with disgust as they entered the home around 8 p.m. Friday wearing white suits with hoods, shoe coverings and face masks. One said, "I can smell it through this thing," referring to his mask. Another said, "Let's make this quick."

Officers took photographs and removed some items in bags. Through the door and window, piles of things covering the floor were visible and some stacks of items appeared to be a few feet high.

Lopour said he believes hoarding is an issue for the couple saying their cars are filled with garbage and he's seen stacks of pizza boxes over his head in the garage.

Investigators wouldn't talk about what they found in the home.

Police have said the investigation is ongoing and it's possible the couple could face additional charges.

The boy is in the custody of El Paso County Department of Human Services. Police said a court hearing will determine if the child will be returned to his parents.

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