Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies responding to a well fare check call resulted in a Mesa couple being taken into custody after finding their three kids living without food and running water.
On Monday morning, police arrested Katrina Johnson and Brandon Edwards after investigating a home near 96th Street and Broadway Road. Police were alerted to the home after a caller said three young girls had visited neighbors’ houses asking for food and water. Deputies reported seeing trash throughout the home and very little food. They also found a toilet full of feces and no running water at the residence.
Investigators interviewed the mother and reportedly she claimed the couple moved into the home because there were no other options. Johnson claims she fed her kids, enrolled them in online school, and would take them to a family member’s house for baths. Edwards told detectives the water had been shut off for the past few weeks.
Detectives spoke with the children and received mixed stories from the girls. Two claiming they had food to eat and that they did online school. However, their third daughter told investigators that she was often hungry because her parents could not afford to buy food that her older sister often went to the neighbor’s houses asking for food and water.
Detectives learned that two of the children had previously been enrolled in school but were dropped because of excessive absences and there were no records of the third child ever being enrolled in school. Johnson was interviewed again regarding her daughter’s school enrollment and court paperwork details that Johnson admitted her children did not attend school due to bad choices and pure laziness. Johnson admitted to investigators that she received money from her mother but would use it to buy drugs instead of food for her children.
Both Johnson and Edwards have both booked on several counts of child abuse.