Cops in Berwyn, Ill. responded to a report of an unresponsive 14-year-old boy on Thursday night. They apparently found him—dying—outside the home. Investigating inside they discovered more than 200 animals in the 1,100-square foot home.
The boy, named Matthew Degner, died in the hospital later. Three other kids, apparently his siblings, were also sick, with "flu-like symptoms"; now in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services, they're receiving medical treatment and therapy. They children are believed to have been kept in isolation, and may have been malnourished—and they were living in what amounted to a zoo:
[I]nvestigators said they found more than 200 animals in the roughly 1,100 square-foot bungalow. The menagerie included dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, squirrels, at least one raccoon, two monkeys and two kinkajous.
"The place was colorless. There were no rugs on the floor. There were birds flying loose on the second floor. There were cats running loose on the first floor," a source told NBC Chicago.
According to neighbors, someone in the house took Degner outside, presumably to prevent the cops from entering the home and finding the animals. It didn't work. Animal control officers are apparently saying the house is "easily the worst they've been in," and humane society volunteers are helping place those animals that are well enough for adoption. (The monkeys and other "exotic" animals are being taken to a rescue sanctuary.)
No charges have been filed yet, but the mother of the children was being held at the police station.