BLACKSTONE (CBS) - Was it really a mystery? Days after four children were found living in filth and neglect in a home with the remains of three infants, Blackstone Town Administrator Daniel Keyes says it was.
Related: Neighbor Describes Discovery
"The family didn't even know. You also had the mailman delivering mail. The UPS man here and neither did the neighbors, and this had been going on for years. We're just as shocked as you are," he said at a Monday news conference.
But documents requested by the I-Team show a number of police calls to 23 St. Paul Street since 2000, 29 visits in all, proving Erika Murray and Raymond Rivera were on the police and social service radar.
"There's enough of them that it really makes me wonder why didn't anyone connect the dots?" said Mary McGeown of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
WBZ asked her to take a look at the documents.
The reports include noise complaints, three school checks for absent students, three animal welfare complaints.
There were also two visits by the health inspector for trash in the yard.
It's a 2007 report that brought the Department of Children and Families into the fold. A relative who was living with Murray and Rivera was threatening to hurt herself.
While there police noticed, "children sleeping on couches in the living room," in a house that was "littered with dirty clothes, etc. on the floor."
DCF visited but found only minor cleanliness issues and did not launch an investigation.
McGeown agrees it was not enough to start a full DCF intervention. Still she says, these issues taken as a whole should have raised red flags that the family might need help.
"When I look back on it and say animals, cars, family members that are harming themselves," she observed. "I would like to think that they know to keep an extra set of eyes on these families and these kids."
Her agency, MSPCC is one group that tries to intervene when families need help staying out of the system.
The lesson, she says is neighbors, schools and police cannot turn a blind eye and must be persistent in trying to get children help.
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