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Michigan police: Conditions in home of drowned toddler ‘deplorable’

WYOMING, MI (WOOD) – Police described the conditions inside the home of a toddler who drowned in a Wyoming, Michigan pond as deplorable.

Micah Anthony Aldridge was reported missing the night of Sept. 23. Officers found his body in the water at Battjes Park less than an hour into their search.

According to the 37-page police report released to 24 Hour News 8 Thursday morning, Wyoming Public Safety officers who searched the home of 3-year-old Micah Anthony Aldridge reported that some of the rooms were “uninhabitable.”

The report says Micah’s mom was at work when the toddler disappeared, but there were at least five other adults in the home at the time.

Micah’s mom, Amanda Presley Ryan Aldridge, told Wyoming Public Safety that she was “always afraid” that Micah might get out of the house and drown in the pond behind the property.

The fishing pond at Battjes Park is about 150 yards from the home at 1813 Blandford Avenue SW.

“Amanda was upset with Michael (Micah’s dad) that he allowed Micah to get out of the house,” Officer Joshua Yancho wrote in his report.

“(Amanda) went on to explain that Micah has gotten out of the house in the past multiple times but was always caught by an adult and brought back in. She said that Micah could open and unlock doors.”

Micah’s mom told officers that the fence they had up in the backyard had been knocked down by the recent tornado.

“She said she kept telling her husband that they needed to put the fence back up,” the officer stated in the report.

According to the file, Micah’s grandmother had been watching the toddler at the home until his father, Mike Aldridge, came home from work around 3 p.m.

“Mike told me (grandma) was watching Micah when he got home and then he took over parenting duties, he fed Micah at about 5:30 and they went upstairs to their bedroom as is normal,” wrote Officer Scott Rittenger in a supplemental case report.

“Michael state that he had been battling a cold and felt tired, he said that Micah usually goes down for a nap in the afternoon and they both feel asleep on the bed,” the officer added.

When Michael awakened, Micah was gone.

Michael told police he “got a bad feeling” so he went downstairs and could not locate Micah.

“Michael noticed the back door was slightly open and went outside and saw that the fence was moved.”

The toddler’s grandma told police the family looked around the house for Micah but were unable to find him so they called police.

Wyoming Police found the toddler floating in the Battjes Park pond at 9:16 p.m.

The adults who were home when Micah went missing included the toddler’s grandpa, grandma, father, uncle and a fifth resident. They were either sleeping, watching television, in the bathroom or in a bedroom with the door closed when the 3-year-old slipped out of the house unnoticed.

“(Grandpa) told me he then went into the bathroom immediately after giving the dog a shot and stated he was in there about 45 minutes. He estimated it must have been around 7:45 p.m. that he entered the bathroom, and stated Micah must have come back downstairs and snuck out of the house at this time,” one officer reported.

Officers reported finding animal feces covering the entire floor in an upstairs bedroom.  The mess didn’t stop there, according to the file.

“The living room was stacked floor to ceiling with boxes and miscellaneous items, and a large amount of dirt and animal hair covered every apparent surface,” an officer described in the report.

“The kitchen was filthy, with dirt all along the floors. Although the refrigerator had food inside of it, it appeared as though much of it had spoiled,” the officer added.

In the room Micah appeared to share with his mom and dad, Yancho reported finding “more feces and possibly vomit on the floor between the beds and around the dresser, and the floors were as dirty as they were downstairs. Old food containers and dirty laundry covered every visible surface, and again there was so much clutter stacked in piles I was barely able to move between objects.”

Officers found “at least five cats tucked into various nooks and crannies,” as well as five dogs living throughout the home. Police say the city only allows residents to have up to three dogs and three cats in a home.

Officers said they forwarded their findings onto the prosecutor, who declined to file charges.