Affidavit: Gladewater couple’s toddler was living in home filled with animal feces, urine, trash

Man, woman arrested endangering, animal cruelty charges

Affidavit: Gladewater couple’s toddler was living in home filled with animal feces, urine, trash
Pictured are Elisha Gray and Matthew Alderman. (Source: Gregg County Jail)

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Investigators with the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man and woman Monday in connection with allegations that a 2-year-old girl was living in horrific living conditions in a home filled with trash and the fecal matter and urine of several different types of animals.

Elisha Diana Gray, 31, and Matthew Edward Alderman, 43, both of Gladewater, are still being held in the Gregg County Jail on a state-jail felony abandon or endanger a child charges a Class A misdemeanor cruelty to non-livestock animals charges.

Gray was also charged with Class B misdemeanor failure to identify/fictitious information. Alderman was also charged with seven Class C misdemeanor traffic-related charges.

Collectively, Gray’s bond amounts were set at $16,000. Alderman’s total bond amount was set at $15,000.

According to the probable cause arrest affidavit, Sergeant Chase Doss with the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office acted on an anonymous tip that a child wasn’t being properly cared for and went to a home in the 300 block of Sypert Street in Gladewater.

The person who provided the tip stated that there was a 2-year-old child living at the residence who was always filthy and never had any clothes on. The anonymous tipster also said the child’s father always appeared intoxicated.

Doss spoke to a woman who identified herself as “Laurie” who claimed that there were no children at the residence and that her only children had been taken by Child Protective Services and adopted out, the affidavit stated.

In addition, “Laurie” allegedly told the GCSO sergeant that the 2-year-old in question was her sister’s daughter and that she occasionally babysits the child.

However, “Laurie” could not provide any contact information for Debbie or give an address where authorities could locate the child.

While the sergeant was at the scene, he received word from the Kilgore Police Department that someone was there and claiming that he or she had more information on the child in question.

When Doss went to talk to the man at the Kilgore Police Department, the man told him that he was at a mobile home park in the 300 block of Sypert Street when he was introduced to a woman who identified herself as Laurie Gray. The man said the woman had an infant with her that looked as though he or she hadn’t been bathed in a while and was wearing a dirty diaper, the affidavit stated.

The man told authorities that the woman, who was later identified as Elisha Gray, told him that her previous children had been taken by CPS and that this child was born inside her own home, the affidavit stated.

“Elisha explained to the reporting party that she cut the umbilical cord herself and that the child had never been to a doctor and was undocumented with the U.S. government,” the affidavit stated.

At that point, Doss and GCSO Investigator David Falco returned to the home on Sypert Street to follow up on the allegations. When they spoke to Gray, she allegedly falsely identified herself as Laurie Gray and claimed that she was unable to have a child because she had endometriosis.

Gray initially told the law enforcement officers that she lived by herself, but she eventually admitted that she lived there with Alderman, her husband.

Falco then went to speak to Gray’s neighbors, and he found Alderman and the couple’s 2-year-old daughter, the affidavit stated.

After Alderman gave the law enforcement officers permission to search the couple’s home, Falco found that the “residence was not suitable for any person, let alone a child, to live in,” the affidavit stated.

Falco found mold growing in several rooms of the residence, the affidavit stated. He also allegedly discovered that it was filled with trash and the fecal matter and urine of several different types of animals.

“Sergeant Doss was standing at the roadway during this search and was able to smell the foul odor emitting from the residence,” the affidavit stated.

The Gregg County Health Department came to the scene to take possession of numerous animals that were not being taken care of properly. Health Department officials removed 12 cats, six dogs, one rooster one possum, one pig, and 12 rats, the affidavit stated.

CPS officials took custody of the child, the affidavit stated. The animals were taken away from the home, as well and will be checked out by a vet. They may be available for adoption in the future.

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