Law and Order, Local Police Reports, Park Forest

Charges Filed After 8 Children Found Living in Squalor

Eight children were found living in squalor alone in this home when police arrived. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)
Eight children were found living in squalor alone in this home when police arrived. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)
Booking photo of Ms. Harper added on January 6, 2023, at 12:35 PM

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A Park Forest woman was charged after police discovered eight children and two dogs living in squalor with no adults present.

Police were engaged in a foot chase in the early afternoon on December 13, 2022, in the 400 block of Huron Street, seeking an individual suspected of damage to a vehicle. At that time, two others who fled on foot from officers were taken into custody near the 400 block of Indianwood Boulevard, according to police.

Two officers were in the backyard of a home on Huron Street at a residence that appeared to be vacant, according to police. There were no vehicles in the driveway or front of the residence, according to police.

Officers observed garbage in the driveway and on the ground around the garage and backyard, according to police. A detective discovered that the back patio sliding door was unsecured, according to police. That the detective opened the patio door and announced his department, according to police. He discovered several small children on a bed in a bedroom adjacent to the rear living room, according to police.

Two other officers then entered the residence. Police located an additional four children and two pit bulls inside the residence, according to police. There were no adults inside the home, according to police.

The report notes that none of the children inside the home were involved in the criminal damage to the vehicle incident.

Inside the home, police were met with the strong smell of garbage, urine, and feces, according to police. There was garbage, clothing, discarded food, and dog feces that covered the vast majority of the floor throughout the entire home, according to police. There were several bugs, flies, and cockroaches in every room, including on and inside sinks, countertops, walls, ceilings, and cabinets, according to police.

The residence did not appear to have any running water, according to police. The electricity was on inside the home. A gas fireplace was on and appeared to be the primary heating source for the home, according to police.

The notice on the door of the front door marking the home as condemned.
The notice on the door of the front door marking the home as condemned. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

The toilet in the bathroom was overflowing with feces and urine. The bathroom sink was filled with stagnant water, according to police.

Despite the conditions, the children were actually in a pleasant mood and told officers they were okay, appearing jovial toward police, according to the report.

Ivy Harper
Ivy Harper. (PFPD)

Another detective arrived on the scene and took protective custody of all the children, “due to the totality of the circumstances and living conditions inside the residence,” the report said. Another officer captured photographs of the exterior and interior of the home, which were later downloaded to the photo evidence hard drive at the Park Forest Police Department, according to the report.

Police advised the Park Forest Building Department of the conditions inside the home. The Building Department marked the home condemned.

This incident was also captured on body worn cameras, according to the report. Ivy Harper, 34, 421 Huron St., Park Forest, was charged with endangering the life or health of a child.

About Police Reports

Please note that we repeatedly say “according to police” in these reports and often use “allegedly.” We are not asserting in any way that those police arrested and charged committed any offenses. We report on what is in the reports that the police furnish to us. As those accused are innocent until proven guilty, the burden is on prosecutors and police to prove all alleged crimes.

eNews Park Forest has continuously published the addresses of those arrested and will continue to do so. 5 ILCS 140/2.15 states that the governmental body (for these reports, the Police Department), shall release information on those charged, including their name, age, and address. This information is necessary to ensure the proper identity of those arrested.

Presumption of Innocence

An arrest does not mean that a person is guilty. The law presumes all those whom police arrest are innocent until proven guilty. It is the policy of eNews Park Forest not to remove items from the public record from publication. Suppose you find your name in the police reports. Our policy is that we will only add information relevant to the final disposition of the case at hand, e.g., “Mr. Smith was subsequently acquitted,” “Mr. Smith entered a guilty plea,” or “All charges against Mr. Smith were subsequently dropped.” We will do so upon receiving and verifying proof of such disposition.

We do not strike, “unpublish,” or delete news.

Police captured all the incidents in this report on body-worn and dash-mounted cameras by officers at the respective scenes, according to police. All Park Forest police officers wear body-worn cameras. Officials typically abbreviate these devices as BWC in the reports.

We encourage persons wishing to leave anonymous information on any criminal matters, including narcotics or gang activity, to call the Park Forest Police Department Investigations Division at (708) 748-1309.