A Jay adoptive and foster mother of nine was arrested recently on counts of child neglect, child endangerment and child abuse after multiple reports of monkey bites and deplorable conditions inside her home.
Delaware Co. Sheriff's Office deputies were originally called to the house after receiving reports of abuse and assault between 17 and 14-year-old females living at the residence, located at 14001 E. 390 Rd. in Jay.
Upon talking with the alleged 14-year-old victim, deputies learned she had suffered multiple instances of being kicked, choked and scratched by her 17-year-old sister.
The 17-year-old claimed she had become violent at times with her siblings because she was having to take care of all of them, saying that the mother, Deidre Matthews, 46, was too medicated on prescription pills to function properly and take care of her children.
The children also claimed their mother could hardly drive because she was so medicated and would run red lights and also drive off the side of the road.
Deputies reportedly found broken windows, animal feces ground into the floor of the home, cockroaches crawling on the counter and dirty dishes all over the kitchen.
Deputies also found a large animal cage in the living room.
Both the 14 and 17-year-old girl reported that they had been attacked by a three-and-a-half foot tall spider monkey named "Buck" several years ago.
The monkey reportedly bit the arm of the 14-year-old so badly that the others could "see the meat on her arm." The 17-year-old also said the monkey attacked her.
The mother reportedly did not seek medical attention for either injury, and sewed up the 14-year-old's wound on her own.
Deputies learned that the girls did not report the deplorable living conditions or monkey attacks to the Department of Human Services because they were afraid of what their mother might do to them. Matthews had allegedly told the girls to keep the attacks a secret.
Approximately two years ago, in addition to the spider monkey, there were reportedly 20 pet monkeys living in the home along with a raccoon, 15 to 20 birds, goats, a buffalo, dogs, cats, alpacas and other animals at the residence living as pets.
With Matthews' permission, all nine children have been placed with other family members and friends while authorities investigate Matthews.
In addition to the 14 and 17-year-old, there were children aged 8, 10, 9, 7, 8, 6 and 4 living inside the home.