BRADENTON, Fla. - A Bradenton couple is accused of raising their two teenagers in deplorable conditions. A Manatee County Sheriff's deputy responded to their Marilyn Avenue home on an unrelated issue around 3:30 Thursday morning.
The deputy says while he was there, he noticed there was no power inside the home, the floors were covered with urine and feces, the beds were infested with bed bugs and dishes were piled high in the sink.
Now 47-year-old Lori Nichols and 57-year-old Marvin Nichols are being investigated for those living conditions that deputies say their 14-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son were living in with them.
We caught up with Lori on Thursday afternoon, as she crossed the street to get coffee from a neighbor, Dorothy Wilson.
Lori, who was dressed in a gown, screamed, "Turned that camera off! You need to have some consideration for people!" She did not want to talk to us on camera, but when asked if she was cleaning up her home, she said no.
About an hour later Lori clarified that statement. She said she was just waking up and wasn't cleaning house because she'd been up so late talking to detectives and while she wasn't cleaning up then she plans to do anything she can so her children can come home. She started to cry and said she loves her children.
Lori added the situation was a personal one because she and her husband can't work and are living on disability. She says it's been tough to pay the bills and keep the power on. Lori says a church helped them in the past but she said she doesn't even have enough money to buy gas to put in the family's pick up truck to go back to ask for help.
As she spoke she was cleaning out two kitty litter boxes that were filled with animal feces.
Wilson has lived across the street from the couple's home since the 1980's. She says, "The kids didn't go to school half the time."
She also says she's not surprised by the accusations of child neglect. She says one of the teens was having some real issues with school.
Wilson says, "She's taken the 7th grade, I think, for the third time."
She says Marvin has had problems with his health. "He had a heart attack and hasn't been home too long and they say that Lori didn't get out of bed to do anything."
At least one neighbor was so concerned about the living conditions at the house that she says she called the Department of Children and Families twice.
Meanwhile, both Marvin and Lori have been in trouble with the law. Marvin has previous arrests for domestic battery by strangulation and another arrest for later violating his probation.
Another neighbor, Christina Flanary, describes Marvin as stand-offish... but can't believe the conditions deputies say he and his family were living in.
"That's surprising, but like I said, I knew him from a while ago; from a previous marriage that he had and some children he had before."
Flanary is deeply concerned for his kids. "They're very quiet. You really don't hear much over there, but I've seen the kids outside playing. They didn't seem... well, they seemed happy, at least I thought."
Dave Bristow with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office says they have not filed charges against the couple, but they have passed the case along to the state attorney's office so they can make a decision regarding charges. For the time being, Bristow says the teens are staying with a friend of the family.