Police arrest woman after finding child covered in feces

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COLUMBIA - Columbia police arrested a woman Sunday night after finding a toddler locked in a basement and covered in feces.

Shortly before 10:30 p.m., officers went to a home in the 2100 block of Ammonette Drive to check on children there. They found three children: an 8-year-old, a 6-year-old, and a 2-year-old. The youngest child was locked in the basement of the home.

Officers reported a smell of urine and feces in the basement, strong enough to make it hard to breathe. They found the 2-year-old naked and wrapped in a blanket soaked with the child’s urine. He had feces on his ears, nose, and mouth, and officers found feces on the walls in the shape of children’s hand prints.

Police reported finding a lot of trash and feces across the floor, describing it as impossible to step anywhere without stepping in one or the other. Officers also found pieces of broken glass scattered around the floor, and mattresses with mold on them.

Shortly after midnight, the children’s mother, Denecia Hatton, returned home with a man who told police he had met Hatton at a bar that night. At the time, police said, Hatton was visibly drunk and smelled of marijuana. Officers searched her purse and reported finding marijuana and cocaine.

They arrested Hatton on suspicion of endangering the welfare of a child, drug possession and driving while intoxicated.