A Virginia mother who faces five felony counts of abuse and neglect of her own children has made bail. Her kids, ages 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, were found living in squalor when social services showed up at the family’s home on July 28. The children were removed from the home the same day social workers visited after it was discovered their mother had been keeping them in cages, but authorities would soon make yet another horrid discovery.
When social workers arrived at 38-year-old Malista Ness-Hopkins’ home on Gladding Road in Mears, Virginia, they made one horrific discovery after another horrific discovery. Two of her five children were kept in cribs with lids screwed on the tops, from which they could not escape, inside the filthy, insect-infested house.
Ness-Hopkins claims to have kept her kids inside of the homemade cages when she could not watch them because once they had gotten out and gotten into a bottle of Drano. However, she did not provide an excuse for not being able to watch the children, even though she was at home.
During a preliminary hearing on Friday, social worker Kate Bonniwell told the court that it had taken more than 20 minutes with an electric screwdriver for her to remove the top of the makeshift cage to free the toddlers. As she worked to free them, they hissed and growled at her like animals. “The children didn’t act like normal children,” she said.
In another room, a five- and a six-year-old were lying on a bare, ripped up mattress.
The entire home stank of urine, she told the court, and the home’s only bathroom had a broken toilet seat, and was filled with black water.
Meanwhile, the bathroom’s sink and bathtub were filled with plates of rotting food and trash.
The children were immediately seized from the home. [Source: Daily Mail]
Ness-Hopkins has a GED diploma and has attended some college, according to court documents. She was even among students who were honored for their academic achievement at Eastern Shore Community College during the spring semester of 2010.
It’s hard to imagine how someone who was apparently academically gifted could allow her life and the lives of her five children to spiral out of control to such a degree. However, it appears the downward spiral may have started with the death of the children’s’ father, who passed away in 2016.
While more details of this disturbing case are still unfolding, Ness-Hopkins has made bail.
A 38-year-old Accomack County woman charged by police with five felony counts of child abuse and neglect is out on bail on condition that she seek a mental health evaluation and pursue recommended treatment.
An Accomack County Juvenile and Domestic Relations judge changed another condition that had been imposed previously, that Malista Ness-Hopkins was to have no contact with the five alleged child victims.
Judge Croxton Gordon removed that condition after a Sept. 8 hearing, where the judge certified all five cases to a grand jury.
She was arrested and the children were removed from the home on July 28 after social workers and an investigator found the five children living in a filthy, insect-infested house — and found two toddlers confined in makeshift cages in a bedroom. [Source: Delmarva Now]
The home on Gladding Road where Ness-Hopkins kept her children is now boarded up. They have been removed from her care, which was a necessary step for authorities to take, but they have a long way to go before their lives will be back to “normal.” Indeed, the poor victims of their mother’s neglect came as close to living as feral children as you could possibly get.