MASON CITY – Mason City police intervened in a possibly dangerous situation where 3 children were locked in a room that wasn’t much better than a toilet as DHS employees refused to help.
Mason City police tell NIT that on August 30, 2016, at 12:43 AM, officers were dispatched to 151 7th Street SW to do a welfare check on 4 children. Neglect and unsanitary issues were alleged. Officers responded and witnessed a putrid odor while standing outside the house. Officers verified there were 3 young children locked in a small bedroom with little ventilation. The children had allegedly been locked in the room for a long time, apparently without access to a bathroom or anyone changing their diapers. Suspected human feces was evident throughout the small room on the floors and walls. A 4th, youngest child was in a playpen in a different room in the house.
Police say the mother of the children, 25-year-old Alexis Rae Martinez, was home and cooperative.
Officers contacted Department of Human Services (DHS) from the scene. DHS employees declined to respond. Officers refused to allow the children to remain there. Officers contacted family relatives and made arrangements to have the children go to a relative’s residence until DHS would get involved and oversee decisions on long-term living arrangements. Police also notified the City rental inspector later that morning. The house was white-tagged at approximately 9:30 AM that same morning due to health and safety issues.
County records show the house is owned by Dan and Jill Nonnweiler.
The investigating officer applied for an arrest warrant for Martinez after completing the investigation and that application was granted by a judge. Martinez was arrested on September 12, 2016 for three counts of Neglect or Abandonment of a Dependent Person (Class C Felonies) stemming from the incident.
Martinez remains held in the Cerro Gordo county jail at this time on $30,000 cash bond (10%) as she awaits a court date.