Stephen J. Lee, Forum News Service, Published December 03 2013
Emerado couple charged with abuse of teen boy; deputy calls squalid trailer a health and safety hazardGRAND FORKS, N.D. - An Emerado couple have been charged with child neglect or abuse after sheriff’s officials say they found unsanitary and hazardous living conditions inside their home.
Richard Elskoe, 48, and Kimberly Elskoe, 39, pleaded not guilty this week in state district court in Grand Forks, each to a Class C felony count of child neglect or abuse.
Judge Sonja Clapp set their pretrial conferences for Jan. 9 after their arraignment Monday.
Cpl. Mike Lee of the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department said in a probable cause affidavit that social workers asked for help checking on a child with special needs because Richard Elskoe was “uncooperative.”
On Oct. 3, Lee and Deputy Lee Mewes went to the Elskoes’ trailer home in Emerado and found it had an “odor of ammonia from urine and feces ... piles of animal feces and urine in plain view … garbage and debris scattered about.”
The affidavit said the conditions posed “health and safety hazards for children.”
The deputies found four juveniles in the home, including a boy, 15, “sitting or lying in a bed with a urine-soaked diaper, wearing only a diaper and a urine-soaked T-shirt,” according to Lee.
The boy’s “body odor was overwhelmingly powerful, his skin was discolored, stained and dirty,” according to Lee.
The boy is the son of Richard Elskoe and the stepson of Kimberly Elskoe and has special needs, according to court officials and court documents.
The social worker said they were failing to provide for the educational needs of the boy, aside from the problematic living conditions, according to Lee.
According to court documents, Richard Elskoe works at a manufacturing plant in Grand Forks and Kimberly Elskoe is disabled with a chronic disease and unemployed.
The two remain free on bond each of $1,000 cash or surety.
Their home includes Kimberly Elskoe’s two adult children and six minors, including two grandchildren. Three of the children are 3 or younger.
Meredith Larson, the assistant state’s attorney prosecuting the case, said social services is involved in the case, making sure the children are safe.