Amanda Joliff and Richard Smith have now been formally charged with child abuse, false imprisonment and more in connection with the horrific treatment of a fourteen-year-old developmentally delayed boy.
An arrest affidavit on view below recounts off-the-charts neglect in a home that comes across as an unkempt, uncleaned zoo.
The Erie Police Department arrest affidavit redacts the name of the boy, but he's almost certainly Amanda's son Josh, who was in the news back in February 2007, when he was attacked by the family's pet Labrador, Gordie. In the account Amanda shared with 9News, she said the dog had been chained up -- but when it began whimpering, Josh, then age nine, approached with the goal of calming it down, only to have it attack him. Amanda estimated that he needed "thousands of stitches" to repair wounds to his left shoulder, left hand and head. "His scalp was hanging on by the skin around his ear on the right side," she said at the time.
After attacking Josh, the dog ran away and was eventually shot and killed by police.
The affidavit picks up the Joliff family story at 10:26 p.m. on September 27, when a neighbor called the cops to report that a neighbor child who'd lived in a nearby trailer was hiding under his porch. The neighbor feared Amanda had abandoned the boy two weeks earlier, heading to New York with her boyfriend, Richard Smith. Her bus ticket was allegedly one-way. The boy, meanwhile, was supposed to have been left with Quint Gilman, identified as his non-biological father, and his sister, a sixteen-year-old whose name is also redacted. However, Quint and the girl had moved out of the trailer earlier that day and apparently left the boy behind.
During a subsequent interview with police, the boy said he'd been removed from school in 2008 and registered as a home-school student -- but that no schooling had taken place since then. Instead, he was locked in a room with boarded-up windows on a daily basis. He was allowed out at 8 a.m. to take care of the clan's ducks. (In addition to two ducks, the Joliff menagerie was said to include three dogs, one macaw, one cockatoo, two cockatiels and four toads -- but not a pet rat of the sort Josh mentioned in the 2007 dog-attack report linked above.) Then he was placed back in his room until 3 p.m., at which point he was briefly freed to clean. Then it was back out again at around 6:30 p.m. to eat dinner -- his only meal of the day, usually consisting of macaroni or spaghetti. But this wasn't necessarily a daily occurrence. The boy estimated that he'd averaged four meals per week since 2008.
The next day, officers received a search warrant for the Joliff residence -- and what they found was repulsive: an "overpowering odor of animal urine and feces," plus mice (and mice droppings) everywhere in site. The rodents had gotten into most of the pasta, too.
When Amanda was finally interviewed, she told officers that the boy was "developmentally delayed," and insisted that her house hadn't been in the sad state in which police found it before she left for New York. She also claimed the lock on the boy's door was intended to prevent him fro running away, but later admitted that she sometimes employed it because he "used to irritate me really bad."
Imagine how bugged she is now. She and Smith are currently in Weld County Jail on a $20,000 bond. They both face charges of at-risk neglect, child abuse and false imprisonment. She's due in court on October 27, while he'll turn up at a disposition hearing on November 3.
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For his part, the boy is presumably in a better place now -- because it's tough to imagine a worse one. Read the complete affidavit below.
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