Arizona’s child-welfare agency says to call the child-abuse hotline if you reasonably believe that a child has been “abused, neglected, exploited or abandoned.”

A 32-year-old Cottonwood woman was arrested on suspicion of child abuse in case that Cottonwood police described as “one of the worst cases of neglect” officers had ever seen.

Sarah Jean Easterday, who sometimes uses the last name Shortridge, faces charges of endangerment, child abuse, neglect or abuse of a minor and drug paraphernalia, Cottonwood police said. 

The woman was found by police last Saturday living in what police described as a ”flop-house” used by drug users in deplorable conditions with her three small children, all under the age of 5, police said.

Verde Valley Regional SWAT Team found Shortridge’s children suffering from rashes, bumps, lice, burns, open sores, scabies and covered in feces, police said. 

The children were removed from the home and transported to Verde Valley Medical Center for treatment, evaluation and hygiene, police said.

The children were found in a home that was filled with trash, debris, broken glass, rotting food, and feces, according to police.

Verde Valley Regional SWAT Team executed a search warrant for at the residence last Saturday, police said.

The abandoned residence had no running water or working electricity except for a single outlet with multiple extension cords attached, police said. 

Cottonwood officers were made aware of the residence after a person received medical treatment from a pistol-whip injury by a man who was staying at the residence the night before, police said. 


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