By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — A 25-year-old pregnant Wausau woman whose children were living in what investigators described as “horrific” living conditions in November is facing new child neglect charges filed this month after investigators paid her a visit.
Garnet Williams was already facing felony charges after a SWAT team searching for a wanted felon discovered the woman’s children living among piles of feces, moldy and rotting food, swarms of flies and a bucket filled with snakes, one of which had escaped and was slithering across the floor, according to court filings.
Three children younger than four years old were living in the basement of a home in the 3400 block of Sherman Road on Wausau’s far west side when officers entered Sept. 20 to search for Akeem Coleman, who was wanted on four separate warrants. Coleman, who was not found in the home during the search but was captured later, faces charges of first degree recklessly endangering safety, carrying a concealed weapon, carrying a handgun where alcohol is sold and consumed, strangulation/suffocation, OWI causing injury, battery and other associated charges, according to police.
In their search, officers discovered three children younger than four years old in the basement of the home. Among the discoveries documented by police: a filthy crib where the youngest child was placed to play, fresh and old feces on the floor, a fuzzy and moldy bagel next to the crib, old cereal scattered on the floor, an old tarp spread across the room that posed a possible safety risk for children, flies coming from a bag of rotting apples lying on a bathroom floor, black mold on pipes and piles of dirty clothing scattered throughout the area.
Social Services representatives were called in to assist.
As one officer photographed the scene, he was startled by a two-foot garter snake slithering across the floor, according to court filings. One of the occupants of the home, Michael Lehman, allegedly told police the snake had escaped from a bucket where six other snakes were being stored. Lehman reportedly said he planned to buy a cage for the snakes that day.
In November Williams was summoned into Marathon County Circuit Court to face four counts of child neglect, three of which are felony charges. Williams responded to the summons and was released on a $750 signature bond.
But new charges against Williams were filed Feb. 1, one day after investigators visited the home and discovered moldy food, piles of dirty dishes and food on the floor. Pornographic videos were also discovered mixed together with children’s videos, according to court documents. Four children were taken from the home by social workers.
Williams was discovered hiding in a closet, according to court documents.
During an initial appearance on the latest charges, which include child neglect and bail jumping, Williams was ordered to have no contact with her children unless authorized by the Department of Social Services.
Williams was released on a $1,000 signature bond. A status conference is set for Feb. 26.