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Deputies make 'filthy' discovery in Putnam County

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Updated: 4/18/2013 10:21 pm
EAST PALATKA, Fla. -- When Putnam County Sheriff's Office deputies went searching for three burglary suspects in East Palatka, they made a filthy discovery.

According to deputies, 23 people, including 11 children ages 2 through 16, were living in "abhorrent conditions."

SWAT and rifle security teams took down William Cribbs, Raymond Sapp and Charles Blackwelder after an extensive investigation. It revealed the three were responsible for one burglary and possibly others in Putnam and St. Johns counties.

The investigation also revealed that the three men were living at or often frequenting a home at 108 E. McCormick Road in East Palatka.

After the arrests, deputies called in code enforcement, the health department and DCF.

According to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, all the children were removed from the property.

James Cribbs is the owner and operates his mechanic shop on the property.

Action News cameras were the only ones allowed onto his property to get a first-hand look at its condition.

Some women and children were living in small, wooden sheds.

The residence and the buildings nearby were condemned by the county.

Cribbs told Action News he's working to clean up the property but the children here were never in danger.

"No, they were fed good," said Cribbs. "DCF was out here. They said there ain't nothing wrong. They said they didn't find no negligence."

According to a release by the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, multiple people were charged with child neglect. But family members on site told Action News DCF found no proof of that.
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