Around 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 22, a Shelby County process server went to that home on the 3000 block of Mary Elizabeth Road to serve an eviction notice. Making his way into the home was difficult because of the large amounts of trash that were blocking the front door, and he immediately smelled foul odors coming from inside.
Workers for the property management company said they found large amounts of animal and human feces and urine throughout the entire residence as they worked for hours to remove debris. They also found three dead cats in an upstairs bedroom. One had decayed to the point that its bodily fluids had saturated the floor.
Enough urine upstairs had collected that it seeped through the floor and was leaking down a wall and ceiling into a room below. A rabbit also was running loose through the home.
Bartlett Police and Bartlett Animal Control became involved.
The adults in the household were Nicole Cate, 36, the children’s mother; Rickey Moore, 34, the father; Cate’s mother, Winnie Kermick-Cate, 58; and Kermick-Cate’s disabled daughter, Amanda Cate, 33.
According to the police report, Nicole said her sister, Amanda, has the mental capabilities of about a four-year-old. Amanda was reportedly not allowed to leave her room, and inside there were rings on the floor from a five-gallon bucket of human waste. Additional waste was piled around the bucket.
Nicole and Rickey had children in the home, a seven-year-old daughter and a seven-month-old son. Large amounts of feces and urine were under their beds and throughout the home. The police report referred to “horrible living conditions” and stated that the dead animals, waste products and trash throughout the home led to the decision that the children’s health and welfare were endangered.
Nicole Cate, Rickey Moore and Winnie Kermick-Cate were each charged with three counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and two counts of aggravated child abuse and neglect. Kermick-Cate was also charged with willful abuse, neglect or exploitation of an adult for the lack of care for her disabled daughter. Moore also had a warrant out of Bartlett and a felony warrant out of Tipton County.
All three adults were transported to the Bartlett Jail.
The Department of Children’s Services has turned the children over to the custody of an uncle.
CAROLYN BAHM is the editor of The Bartlett Express. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.