Madeline W. Harrigan: Mother arrested after 3 children found in home 'covered with urine and feces'

LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. -- A mother was arrested Monday after Department of Children and Families investigators removed her three children from their Loxahatchee home that deputies say was covered in filth, rotten food and feces.

When a deputy and a DCF agent knocked on Madeline W. Harrigan's door at 16029 Edinburgh Drive, they said they could "immediately smell a strong odor of urine and feces" coming from inside.

Before entering her home, deputies said Harrigan, 40, refused to allow DCF investigators to visit her children -- a 12-year-old and two 10-year-olds. Agents were also unable to contact the children at school because some were not enrolled and another had missed 76 percent of the school year, according to an arrest report.

In response, a judge provided DCF agents an emergency order to enter Harrigan's home.

When authorities walked in, they said there was no furniture, and the floor was "covered with urine, feces and vomit." The children were barefoot and filthy from head to toe, deputies said.

According to the report, Harrigan attempted to stop the deputy from entering her home, but the deputy continued to assist the DCF agent in inspecting the residence.

"The sinks were full of stagnant water and dirty dishes. Some sort of growth had actually started to form on the top of the water," the arrest report stated.

The refrigerator contained only a gallon of juice and a rotten melon, according to the report. Deputies also said Harrigan's toilet and bath were "caked with feces," and the smell was "overwhelming."

Based on the investigation, DCF determined Harrigan failed to provide her children with the "care, supervision and services necessary to maintain their physical health." They were removed from her custody and released to their father.

Harrigan was jailed on three counts of child neglect.

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