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Toddler taken from filthy, smelly Maplewood home

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG
  • Star Tribune
  • February 6, 2013 - 11:19 PM

A Maplewood couple allegedly kept their infant son in filthy conditions, surrounded by rotting food, dirty laundry and a toilet clogged with feces and urine, according to charges.

Rebecca L. Koecher, 23, and Clayton S. Johnson, 26, were also allegedly so drunk they wobbled on foot and slurred their speech. Koecher is charged with child neglect and Johnson is charged with child neglect and fourth-degree assault. Charges were filed Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court.

According to the complaint: Maplewood police were called to a home in the 1800 block of County Road B on Monday. The landlord called because Johnson was allegedly drunk and banging on his back door.

From outside, police smelled an odor of something rotting. Johnson opened the door and fell out.

"Once the door was open, the putrid smell became overpowering," the complaint said.

Johnson wobbled on his feet, tried to slam the door on the officers and smelled of alcohol. He directed police inside, where the couple's 22-month-old son was with Koecher. Johnson also swore and yelled at police, the complaint said.

"Officers went into the home and had difficulty breathing due to the awful odors emanating from inside," the complaint said.

Officers found Koecher passed out on a bed almost on top of her son, the charges said. An empty bottle of vodka was on the floor nearby. Koecher's speech was slurred, her eyes droopy and she had difficulty getting out of bed.

Dirty laundry, diapers and food were scattered about, there was little food in the home and mold was growing in the freezer, according to the complaint. Pans of rotting food sat on the stove and the bathroom was filled with dirty feminine products.

The home was declared a health nuisance and uninhabitable, the complaint said.

Koecher and Johnson were taken to detox, and their child was taken to Children's Hospital. At detox, Johnson used anti-Semitic language against an officer and also threw a punch that was blocked, the charges said.

Both Koecher and Johnson have extensive criminal records, including drunken driving.

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib

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