Adults in 'putrid' house in Maplewood charged with child neglect

What began as a complaint about an unwanted visitor opened the door on a toddler and two adults living in horrifying conditions in a rented house in Maplewood.

A 'putrid' smell

Police arrived at a home in the 1800 block of County Rd. B in Maplewood on Monday, Feb. 4 after a landlord called to report a tenant from a house rented nearby was drunk and banging on his back door.

Officers went to the rented home to speak to Clayton S. Johnson, the suspected drunken tenant, and could smell a foul odor even without the door open.

When Johnson opened the door, officers were hit by a smell from inside they assumed came from a dead animal or person inside. One described the stench as "putrid."

The officers reportedly struggled to breathe as Johnson tried to slam the door. He reportedly became unruly, but they were able to handcuff him and place him in the back of the squad car.

According to the complaint, police then entered the house, where they found Rebecca L. Koecher on a bed "almost lying atop" her 22-month-old son. Officers found a vodka bottle near the bed.

Koecher refused to take a breath test, but officers reported her speech was slurred and she was "severely impaired."

The boy was transported to Children's Hospital, and both Koecher and Johnson were taken to detox.

The complaint details the level of disarray the home was in, including dirty diapers strewn across the home, rotting food in pans in the sink, the toilet brimming with waste and used tampons all over the bathroom floor.

The refrigerator was empty except for condiments and an expired carton of eggs, and officers discovered mold growing in the freezer.

Neglect, assault charges

Both Koecher and Johnson are charged with child neglect, and Johnson is additionally charged with fourth-degree assault of a peace officer.

As police drove Johnson to detox, he was reportedly belligerent and used anti-Semitic language toward one of the officers. After entering the facility, Johnson attempted to punch another officer, who was able to deflect the blow.

According to the complaint, a Maplewood health officer has declared the home to be a health nuisance and uninhabitable.

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