Dubuque woman defends herself after police arrest her on seven child endangerment charges

Published: Jan. 4, 2018 at 5:53 PM CST
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A Dubuque woman says city police lied about the conditions of her home when they arrested her boyfriend and her with seven counts of child endangerment.

Police responded to 462 Burch Street in Dubuque on the evening of January 2 for a welfare check.

They were called after a Lutheran Services Care Coordinator was unable to conduct a safety check on Tiesha Martin's eight children, ages 16 to one year old.

Court documents show the care coordinator saw the front door open, but no one answered.

When this person went to the back of the home, court documents show this person saw a "young child and infant on a bed."

The care coordinator tried to make contact but the older child ran and left the infant on the bed.

According to court documents, officers got into the house and found the place in "disarray."

Police say they found a couple smoking marijuana and seven children sleeping on one bed.

Martin says her apartment was not in the condition Dubuque police described.

She says seven of her children were not inside one bedroom.

"A few children was in that room yes. But all the kids was not in that room," she said.

Court documents also show officers saw garbage and rotten food throughout the house.

"They say rotten food was all throughout the house and everything but it was all a lie," she said.

Police also say they found feces throughout the house.

In a Facebook video, Martin addresses this claim. She says what appeared to be feces to the officers was actually just syrup in her child's bedroom.

"They say poop was all over the floor and feces and I was like, 'oh my God.' It's sad that they would stoop down that low," Martin said.

She added, "I work third shift, I provide for my kids. I'm not on housing. I'm just like what more do ya'll want from me?"

Court documents also show the officers found her 13 year old son "completely naked."

Martin says her son is disabled, wears diapers and prefers to wear no clothing in the house.

"He takes all his clothes off as soon as he hit the door. He like, 'take my shoes off, take my socks off,'" she said.

The kids are no longer living in Martin's home.

"Ultimately the kids were taken out of the home and placed with a family member that they felt could provide at least proper care for them temporarily," Lieutenant Baxter with the Dubuque Police Department said.

Baxter says his officers are disappointed both Watson and Martin are out of jail.

He said, "our officers were inside the house, they saw firsthand what these kids were living in, so it's especially concerning for them to know that the parents are back out."

Martin says she's going to work to get her kids back.

"I'm a be strong because I know I can't do nothing else but be strong," she said.