SHARPSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) – A woman is wanted on an arrest warrant for multiple charges, including endangering the welfare of children, after police say “hoarding conditions” were found inside her apartment.
Sharpsburg police say Dawn Marie Ecker has been on the run for more than a month after she took off during a child welfare check, leaving her 12-year-old daughter behind.
Now police are looking for 51-year-old woman.
On Aug. 26, officers helped Human Services perform a welfare check at 902 Penn Street, where a 12-year-old girl was reportedly living in deplorable conditions. Ecker ran from a case worker before police arrived.
“You still needed to conduct a welfare check on the juvenile, that was of paramount importance,” said Sharpsburg juvenile investigations officer Brian Hoebel.
When police knocked, a stranger answered the door and led officers inside to a horrifying discovery.
“There was debris stacked taller than I stand here, and I’m 6’3”, and the debris was above my head,” he said.
Police found the child doing homework on the toilet seat. According to officers, this was the cleanest area in the house.
“We encountered feces. We encountered bed bugs,” Hoebel said.
Code enforcement along with the Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Department have condemned the building. The landlord has spent the past month clearing debris from the home, which now spans across two backyards and pours onto the sidewalk.
Neighbors watched the trash pile up for weeks and say they had no idea what was happening inside.
“Any type of abuse to a child is just heart wrenching,” said a neighbor.
And with many children now learning from home, Hoebel is calling on the community to pay close attention for signs of abuse.
“We still need the community’s help. If you see something tell us,” he said.
Police say the child was found in good health. She is currently in CYF custody.
Ecker is facing multiple charges, including endangering the welfare of children, risking a catastrophe and recklessly endangering another person, along with multiple drug offenses. If you know where she is, call police.
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