20 children and 20 dogs removed from 'uninhabitable' home; 5 women arrested

Five women were arrested after 20 children and 20 dogs were removed from a Victorville home Thursday morning due to "uninhabitable" conditions, authorities said.

Deputies from the Victorville Police Department responded around 10:42 a.m. to the home in the 15800 block of Eto Camino Road to assist the Department of Children and Family Services in removing the children.


The home was found to be "uninhabitable, with several serious health and safety issues," the department said in a statement.

There was an insufficient amount of food in the home for the 20 children — who ranged in age from 2 ½ months to 17 years old — and five adults who lived there.

"The sleeping conditions were inadequate, there was no electricity or gas, and the carpet, walls, and furniture were in severe disrepair," authorities said in a statement.

Code Enforcement found several issues, including black mold, and deemed the home uninhabitable.

Animal Control removed 20 dogs, two of which were dead. None of the dogs had access to water, authorities said.

The 20 children were removed by the Department of Children and Family Services.

Matosha Martinez, 35; Cherish Lewis, 22; Dajanet Smith, 25; Thereca Griffin, 42; and Virginia Mann, 61; were arrested and booked at High Desert Detention Center.

Martinez and Mann were booked on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance and child cruelty. The other women were booked on suspicion of child cruelty.

Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to contact the Victorville Police Department at (760) 241-2911.

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