Police Allegedly Discover Uninhabitable Living Conditions, Hypodermic Needles in Punxsy Residence with Minor Child Present

handcuffsPUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (EYT) – A Punxsutawney couple are facing felony charges of Endangering the Welfare of Children stemming from an incident that occurred on West Mahoning Street, in Punxsutawney, Jefferson County.

According to court documents, Punxsutawney Borough Police Department filed criminal charges against 33-year-old Robert Troy Blankenship and 27-year-old Kylie M. Swatsworth, both of Punxsutawney.

According to a criminal complaint, Officer Murray, of Punxsutawney Borough Police Department, responded to a request for a “welfare check” on a minor child located at 212 West Mahoning Street.

According to a known individual, “the apartment was trashed, and the individuals always appeared to be on drugs. (The known individual) was concerned that a minor child was not (being) taken care of, and the living conditions were unsafe,” the complaint states.

Officers Zeitler and Murray responded to the residence on 212 West Mahoning Street. Officer Murray noted that “a male opened the door far enough to squeeze through it and closed it behind him. He appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and/or a controlled substance. He was staggering and spoke very slowly. He identified himself as Robert Blankenship. Officer Murray explained the reason for their visit, and Blankenship was hesitant, but allowed the officers to enter the residence,” the complaint indicates.

Once inside the residence, Officer Murray “observed uninhabitable living conditions. There was a pathway through the apartment with food and garbage everywhere. The minor child was sleeping in a swing located in the kitchen area. On the floor around the minor child, in plain view, Officer Murray observed a razor blade and unused hypodermic needles that were uncapped. Kylie Swatsworth was also present,” according to the complaint.

Officer Murray asked Blankenship and Swatsworth if either one of them were diabetic, and they both responded “no.” When questioned what the needles were for, “Blankenship advised they were old needles that they just dumped out of a box. He said they had a drug addiction years ago and used them to shoot Heroin, but did not know how to dispose of them properly, so they never got rid of them,” the complaint states.

Swatsworth went on to explain that “she just had a baby that died, and they were trying to get pictures of clothes to sell online so that they could pay for the funeral, and that was the reason for the apartment being a mess,” the complaint continued.

As they were talking, “Officer Murray observed a glass plate with a blue powdery substance in a straight line on the counter top. Laying next to the blue powdery substance on the plate was a rolled up dollar bill,” the complaint states.

When questioned about it, “Swatsworth stated it was Xanax and admitted to snorting it prior to their arrival.” It was noted that “Swatsworth did not have a prescription for Xanax,” the complaint indicates.

“There were also several more used hypodermic needles laying on the counter along with a prescription bottle full of little pieces of rolled up cotton substance,” the complaint continues.

Based on the observations of drug use, the uninhabitable conditions of the apartment, and the fact that the minor child could have had access to the razor blade and uncapped hypodermic needles laying on the floor, Swatsworth and Blankenship were advised the minor child was being taken into protective custody, according to the complaint.

Officer Murray contacted Children and Youth Services (CYS), and she stayed with the minor until CYS arrived and took custody.

Based on the information discovered during her investigation, Officer Murray filed criminal charges against both individuals.

On May 16, Blankenship and Swatsworth were both charged with Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, a third-degree felony.

Unable to post $30,000.00 monetary bail each, both individuals were lodged in the Jefferson County Jail.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on June 28 in front of Magisterial District Judge Douglas Robert Chambers.

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