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|A Disturbing Find in Abingdon Highly Publicized in 2009
|The year that just ended had its share of crime, but an incident initially reported to police as a domestic disturbance in Abingdon turned up something very different and quite shocking.
A gruesome scene authorities discovered in early July inside a house at 606 West Monmouth Street resulted in the arrests of a man and a woman who live there on multiple of animal cruelty charges and other offenses. The story, because of its stunning nature, got a lot of press last year.
Abingdon police say they noted at least 12 dead cats and dogs inside the residence shared by 31-year old Michael Geier, his wife 28-year old Rebecca Johnson-Geier, and two children. Officers were initially called to the home by Rebecca Johnson-Geier, who said her husband struck her in the mouth, when police came across the dead animals and deplorable conditions.
Officials contacted the Knox County Health Department because they feared the residence posed a public health hazard. The department's director of environmental health, Wil Hayes, told WGIL his job while inspecting the house was to determine whether other properties were at risk.
"What we're looking for is whether or not we believe there's potential concern for a public health hazard," Hayes said. "That would be things such as allowing for...insects and rodents, excessive standing water, anything of that nature that would really create an atmosphere that is going to affect the public health -- not just that individual person, but public health in the whole neighborhood, the whole community."
The department advised and assisted the city during the ordeal. The house was not condemned despite what Abingdon Police Chief Fred Andrews described as the worst thing he'd ever encountered in his law enforcement career.
The Geiers were formally charged with several misdemeanor counts that alleged they starved or neglected the animals and allowed their two children to live in an environment that was infested with fleas and littered with feces and decaying animal carcasses.
The children were placed with relatives a short time after police made their discovery.
(WGIL News Story and File Photo by Mike Perry.)
|01 05 10 by Newsroom
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