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Last updated on Tuesday, February 28, 2012
(INDIANAPOLIS) - A Marion County sheriff’s deputy who was fired last week and his wife were charged Monday with several counts of neglect of a dependent.
An investigation of Matthew Prestel, 27, and his wife, Kristine Prestel, 26, began on Feb. 13, after a series of incidents at the preschool of the couple's 4-year-old daughter prompted the school to call Child Protective Services, prosecutors said.
The school had earlier begun to document issues involving the child. CPS was called after the girl came to school reeking of perfume, prosecutors said. The girl's thighs were caked with feces, and she had blisters and a diaper rash, investigators said.
The school had earlier documented instances of the child wearing clothing too small for her, smelling badly and a couple of instances in which no one was home to pick up the child at the end of classes.
Investigators said the school had also documented a couple of instances in which the child appeared to have cut her own hair and another incident in which they said she came to school with a sticky stain on her that was still there three days later.
Indianapolis police and CPS said they found the couple's apartment not fit for human habitation.
"There was an incredible odor of urine and waste material," read part of a probable cause affidavit. "The repugnant smell could even be noticed in the hallway outside the residence."
Investigators said human feces was on the floor and walls of the apartment and that spoiled food was left in the kitchen.
Police said a department-issued gun was left where the child could reach it.
"Those children are so young ... and at that age, you're totally dependent on the people who raise you," said Marion County sheriff's Capt. Mike Hubbs. "It's sad to know that they probably have never experienced a decent environment for some time."
Apartment managers said there had been numerous complaints about bad odors emanating from the home and that Prestel and his wife were ordered to clean up but didn't comply.
Police previously responded to the home in August 2011 after the girl was found wandering. Conditions of the apartment weren't checked, and CPS wasn't called in that incident, RTV6's Jack Rinehart reported.
Prestel told police that he and his wife had a bad week and that the children had been sick.
Prestel had been a member of the department since April 4, 2009. The girl and her 18-month-old sibling were placed in CPS custody.
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