HARRISONVILLE, Mo. - An alert middle school social worker and principal concerned for the welfare of several students from one family led police to a motel room where the children were discovered on Monday in filthy and squalid conditions.
Led to the Cortez Motel by Harrisonville Middle School Principal Christopher Grantham, police discovered seven siblings between three and 12-years-old living in one room.
According to court documents, officers described disheveled and unbathed children and a room filled with trash and smelling of urine.
The children were reportedly sharing two queen-sized beds that were torn and soiled with cat urine.
Court documents also show only a small amount of food was found in the refrigerator.
When the children's parents Tammie and Brian Gregerson returned to the motel while police were present, they were arrested and ultimately charged with child endangerment.
Police believe the children had been staying at the motel for several days with their parents after being evicted from their nearby home. The parents told police they would regularly leave the children to move furniture to a new home in Kansas City-- including in several instances for as long as 12 hours.
The parents told police the children were being watched by another guest at the motel and that they did not appear to have any way of contacting that person in an emergency. The guest told police she had been enlisted to help only for short periods of time.
A neighbor in the family's Harrisonville neighborhood described children regularly running around in the streets at all hours. Police records indicate multiple calls about unsupervised children, including one as recently as July.
"Because of all the kids, I was actually under the impression she was maybe running a daycare, which worried me because I wouldn't send my kid to a daycare like that," neighbor Gloria Taylor said. "But after, you know looking in to it some more, I found out they were all her kids."