Two Ponsford residents are facing charges after being accused of neglecting seven children.
Social workers observed the children were living in poor conditions, and suffered a variety of health issues, including skin infections, staph infections, dental issues, lice, and sores and scabs, among others, according to court records.
Jolynn Fire Peet, 33, and Douglas Eugene Bruguier, 36, both of rural Ponsford, were charged Jan. 24 in Becker County District Court with one felony charge and six gross misdemeanor charges of neglect or endangerment of a child.
According to court records, on Dec. 9, 2019, Becker County sheriff’s officers and child protection workers responded to a report of neglect of seven children at a residence in rural Ponsford.
Nobody answered when they knocked on the door, but they could hear kids inside the house. After a warning, an officer eventually had to kick in the door.
Bruguier initially wouldn’t let the law enforcement officers inside, but let the social workers enter, according to court records. The social workers observed that several of the children had significant lice infestations and untreated maladies that require medical attention. The home was filthy, with cockroaches on the walls, according to court records. The children were taken into protective custody.
One child, who had missed school for two weeks, was in severe pain, with one ankle swollen and the other in pain, and needed crutches to walk, according to court records. The child had earlier been diagnosed with strep throat, but Peet or Bruguier had failed to pick up the antibiotics needed to treat the infection. At the hospital the child was found to have a temperature of 101.9, with severe joint pain and trouble walking, and had to be transported to a Fargo, N.D., hospital by ambulance due to a heart condition.
Failing to treat the strep had resulted in the child having rheumatic fever, carditis (an inflamed heart) and polyarthritis (inflammation of four or more joints), as well as a lice infestation, according to court records
In order to recover, the child will need seven years of monitoring with penicillin benzathine shots every 21-28 days, according to the criminal complaint.
The other six children suffered from a variety of health issues related to neglect, according to court records:
- Child 2 was embarrassed to go to school because of a lip injury which bled. The child smelled foul and was infested with lice, with clothing soiled and stained, according to court records. The child slept on a mattress made of blankets behind a loveseat in the living room.
- Child 3 had many front teeth blackened and decayed, and had not eaten since the day before. The child had worn the same clothes for seven to eight days and they were very soiled and smelled. The child had attended school without socks and in a tank top the last week of November, and said they were happy to go to school because they were fed there, according to court records. A medical examination found the child had cavities and two abscess formations to the gums, ears were impounded with wax, and was malnourished. The child was referred to a dentist for teeth extractions.
- Child 4 was filthy, with missing teeth and other dental issues, earwax impoundments, lice, and a pustule above the navel. The child was referred for teeth extractions.
- Child 5 was missing teeth and had athletic tape around one foot, with a sore on top of the foot and a half-dollar sized sore on one heel. The child was treated for a staph infection.
- Child 6 had lice, dental cavities and a head covered in yellowish scabs, seeping and emitting a foul odor (folliculitis), according to court records. Sores all over the body appeared to be impetigo turned into a staph infection (pyoderma). The child was treated for multiple issues.
- Child 7 also had lice, dental cavities, a sore on one ear, and a head covered in yellowish scabs, seeping and emitting a foul odor. Sores all over the body had turned into a staph infection. The child was treated for folliculitis, pyoderma and other issues.
On Jan. 24, Peet was issued a summons to appear in court Feb. 20 before District Judge Jay Carlson, and Bruguier was issued a summons to appear Feb. 27 before Carlson.