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Parents charged with abuse after living in condemned house with 9 kids, warrants say

Family lived in a condemned house. Parents of 9 children charged with abuse, warrants say

Rebecca and Michael Bell, both 42, are charged with five counts each of felony child abuse and five misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, arrest warrants say.
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Rebecca and Michael Bell, both 42, are charged with five counts each of felony child abuse and five misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, arrest warrants say.

Investigators in Wake County have accused a man and woman of child abuse after finding them and their nine children living in a condemned house.

Rebecca and Michael Bell, both 42, were arrested Tuesday, warrants say. They have been charged with five counts each of felony child abuse and five misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, according to the warrants.

Investigators say the family, who moved to Wake County from Nevada where they had been homeless, were living in the condemned house near Wake Forest for about a week in February.

The family’s current address is different from the home where the alleged crimes happened, the warrants say.

The children range in age from 1 to 15 years old, according to the warrants. The school-aged children were not enrolled in school, investigators say.

The oldest five children, all girls, were required to care for their younger siblings, the warrants say.

The warrant describes the family’s living conditions.

It says the house had “no electricity, no running water, holes in the ceilings, floor and walls, exposed nails in the floor, with a foul smell, mold with raw meat and perishable food on the kitchen table, and raw meat in the hallway.”

The warrants also say the children were exposed to domestic violence and that the oldest, 15, was given alcohol to drink during a Super Bowl party.

Michael Bell was charged with second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor in February, according to arrest records.

Rebecca and Michael Bell were being held in the Wake County jail under $250,000 bail each.

Joe Johnson is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer. He most recently covered towns in western Wake County and Chatham County. Before that, he covered high school sports for The Herald-Sun.
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