Suleman and nine of her 14 kids. (Nathanael Jones/PacificCoastNews.com)
Stephanie went to police to report the squalor she witnessed, which she says was difficult for her because she's a longtime friend of Suleman's, but she feels so terribly for the children. "The kids are in desperate need of help, and I tried to help and she's not open to anyone helping her," she told TMZ as she left the El Habra police station. "She thinks everything is fine with the kids, and it's not." When asked by the cameraman what exactly was wrong, she continued, "The kids don't wear clothes. I went over there yesterday and they're not wearing any pants. And they're outside in the freezing cold, it was 60 degrees, and they're shivering and she wouldn't let them come inside until they finished eating their dinner. It's just horrible."
One photo shows Suleman's kids dirty and in only t-shirts, as graffiti covers the backyard fence. (TMZ.com)
In other photos Stephanie took inside the Suleman home — which has been desecrated with spray-painted graffiti, presumably by her older children — one room has tiny mattresses on the floor with no sheets or blankets, as well as two cribs. The kids, says Stephanie, "are sleeping on the floor. I offered her bunk beds. I said, 'We have bunk beds, you can take them.' She said, 'No, no I don't want them. We're ok right now. Everything's fine.' It's not fine! It's depressing, I want to cry."
On Tuesday night, three reps from Child Protective Services along with a police officer went to the Suleman home to investigate Stephanie's claims. In a video, children can be heard as the group repeatedly bangs on the front door until Suleman, 36, finally lets them in. Before the video cuts off, she can be heard telling them, "Excuse the graffiti." After an hour-and-a-half, CPS left after determining the children were not in immediate danger, but a spokesperson did tell TMZ the investigation is ongoing and there will be a follow-up visit to the Suleman home.
"I love those kids, but they're being neglected completely," says Stephanie. "[Suleman] needs help, she can't do this by herself. There's too many kids and they're not getting the help that they need. They're not getting attention, they're not even wearing clothes. The boys have girls' clothes on! I go over there and cut the kids' hair for free because you can't tell which ones are boys and which ones are girls, they all look the same!"
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