Pittston woman charged with endangering 4 children in ‘destroyed’ apartment

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]
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PITTSTON — City police charged a woman with endangering four children by having them in an apartment described as being “destroyed,” and an arrest warrant was issued for her boyfriend alleging he failed to appear for a court proceeding.

Alissa Searles, 26, of Riverview Manor, Pittston, is facing four counts of endangering the welfare of children after police discovered her apartment had no food and four children — ages 5, 2, and two 1-year-olds — wearing dirty clothes. The 2-year-old walked around in a dirty diaper when police were summoned to the apartment by Searles’ boyfriend, John Robert Caines, on April 20, authorities say.

Caines, 31, of West Sixth Street, West Wyoming, is wanted by the Luzerne County Sheriff’s Department for allegedly failing to appear Tuesday for a preliminary hearing in Central Court on charges he stole a rim with a tire from a garage in Jenkins Township, court records say.

According to criminal complaints:

Police responded to the Riverview Manor complex on a report about a woman smoking methamphetamine with children inside the apartment at about 12:30 a.m. April 20.

Searles told police she was fighting with her boyfriend, Caines, who had left.

Police entered the apartment and observed it to be “destroyed” with no furniture in the living room and the kitchen “a total mess.”

Searles claimed she was cleaning up and the four children were upstairs sleeping. She also claimed her parents were coming over to help with the children.

Police did not detect any illegal drug use, and Searles was not under the influence of any narcotics.

Police later located Caines in West Pittston. Caines said he was returning to the apartment to be with the children, and claimed Searles is always leaving the children to smoke meth.

Officers returned to the apartment just before 1:30 a.m.

Caines told police Searles left prior to his arrival, leaving the four children unsupervised. Caines claimed the doors were unlocked when he arrived.

Officers noticed there was no food in the refrigerator and the second floor was “totally destroyed” with old food and dirty clothes all over the floors.

Police advised Caines the children were being taken into protective custody.

After checking with a caseworker with Luzerne County Children and Youth, the children were transferred to their grandparents.

Tire case

In an unrelated case, state police at Wyoming charged Caines and Cory David Horlein, 28, of Nanticoke, after they allegedly stole a rim with a tire from Johnny’s Auto Parts on River Road, Jenkins Township, on March 21.

Searles, who wasn’t charged, was driving a vehicle that Caines and Horlein placed the rim and tire on, troopers say.

Caines reportedly told police he needed the rim and tire for Searles’ vehicle because it wouldn’t pass inspection.

Horlein pleaded guilty to theft at his preliminary hearing in Central Court on Tuesday. He will be sentenced at a later date.

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By Ed Lewis

[email protected]