St. Peters mom left loaded rifle in crib, police say

2013-07-31T23:55:00Z 2013-10-02T13:12:28Z St. Peters mom left loaded rifle in crib, police sayBy Susan Weich sweich@post-dispatch.com 636-493-9674 stltoday.com

ST. PETERS • A 37-year-old mother is in custody after police say she left a loaded rifle in her toddler’s crib and subjected her two children to feces-covered living conditions.

Cheryl Darlene Dudley of the 1300 block of Cave Springs Estates Drive, is charged with seven counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of child abuse.

St. Peters police responded to the home Monday after a witness allegedly saw Dudley’s 22-month-old daughter tied to the garage with a rope.

During the investigation, police observed narcotics in a dresser drawer within reach of the toddler and another child, 7.

In addition, police found a loaded rifle in the toddler’s crib. Dudley said she had placed it there after hearing noises in her back yard but had not put it away after she realized no one was there.

Police say the toddler had several flea bites and dog scratches on her legs, arms and torso. Five dogs in the home were turned over to animal control. The child also had several bruises on her right leg, which Dudley admitted she caused by disciplining the tot.

Court documents say the home was covered in dog feces, dirt, cigarettes and mold. The bathrooms appeared to not have been cleaned in months.

The kitchen refrigerator was operational but smelled strongly of spoiled food, police said. A brown substance was smeared all over the inside of the door and the floor board.

Soiled diapers were lying on the basement floor. Multiple pieces of plastic and cloth were at the base of the hot water heater, creating a potential fire hazard.

The basement sliding glass door leading to the back yard was broken, so it was always left open, police said.

According to court records, Dudley has failed to appear on several drug offenses, and she admitted to hiding from the police because she knew she was wanted.

Bail is set at $30,000 cash-only in the case.

Susan Weich is a reporter at the Post-Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

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