Child with autism, wandering naked in street leads to arrest of parents for endangerment

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CHILLICOTHE, Mo. -- Chillicothe police arrested a couple after one of their four children was found wandering in the street.

Michelle and Daniel Schliessman

Michelle and Daniel Schliessman

Police say they initially responded to reports of a naked man running down the street at about 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 13. Police say they recognized the male juvenile, who they say has autism.

"It was 48 degrees early in the morning and we have a child running in the street," said Joshua Miller, Chillicothe Police.

They took the child back to his home in the 1600 block of Fair Street.

"We took him back to his family's home because in the last year we've found him in similar situations at the family's previous address and now on Sunday he was unsupervised again," added Officer Miller.

According to police, the child's parents were sleeping when he returned home.

"We had to wake them up. They were downstairs in the basement. They did not know the child had even gotten out," said Officer Miller.

Police call the boy's parents suspected meth-users, and say they searched the home after receiving a tip that there was drug activity. Upon their investigation, police arrested the two parents, Michelle, 36, and Daniel Schliessman, 45, for possession of methamphetamine and endangering the welfare of the child.

"We found methamphetamine and meth-using materials inside the home. It's hard to say exactly what the parents were doing, but we knew because of the fact that the autistic child has wondered off at least eight times in the past and almost got hit by cars on the highway, we had to get the state involved because we're concerned about the boy's safety, " said Officer Miller.

The four children, ages 14, 13, 11 and six, were placed in protective custody. It appeared the children had not been bathed for an extended period of time. Officers also say the home was covered with dog feces, cat feces, and animal vomit. The couple's dog and cat were also seized.

"I saw them get arrested. I had no idea that their son was running around naked. I do know that about two days before that incident their daughter came over to my home barefooted and she had bug bites on her arms and blisters on her feet. It was terrible, " says neighbor Ashley Bosley. "It's just crazy to me and I think those kids are now better off where they are honestly."

"It was very deplorable. When we went through the residence, we found animal feces and also animal vomit throughout the floors of the house, including the kids' bedrooms," said Miller.

On Tuesday, Michelle and Daniel Schliessman were charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Michelle was also charged with possession of meth, according to police.

When they were arrested, police say the mom cried and the dad said nothing.

"They were very distraught over it," Miller said.

Michelle and Daniel told police they only lived in the home for four days, but neighbors say they lived in the home for two weeks. Officers said they found the son with autism wandering several times from the family's previous address.

Both suspects remain in  jail.

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