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Police: Pa. couple hid 5 children from society

•  National News     updated  2010/11/28 21:14


They lived outside society, hidden from the world in a squalid row house with no heat, electricity or running water. They had no birth certificates, no schooling, no immunizations or evidence of medical care — nothing whatsoever to prove their existence.

Police in this south-central Pennsylvania city are still piecing together how the parents of five children — ranging in age from 2 to 13 — managed to conceal them for so many years. And why.

"I don't know what would possess them at all," said detective Dana Ward Jr., who tracked down the children after a child welfare agency received an anonymous tip about the clandestine family.

Ward charged Louann Bowers, 33, and Sinhue Johnson, 45, with five felony counts of child endangerment. They are scheduled to be in court Friday, though Bowers' lawyer said she will waive her right to an arraignment. Both are locked up in York County Prison.

Bowers ran away from "a very chaotic household" when she was 16 and "didn't want to be found," attorney Ronald Gross said.

"I think, unfortunately, Mom's desire to not be found by her family impacted the children's growth," he said. "She realizes now, 'I should have done it differently.'"




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