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Children found in unlawful conduct case

A Colleton County man accused of allowing his children to live in deplorable conditions has been given bond, while local law enforcement officials located the children in question on Tuesday following a two-day search.

As of press deadline on Tuesday morning, the five children who were being sought in this case were located safely in Dorchester County. They were found by investigators with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office and by deputies with the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office.

The ordeal began on Jan. 3rd, on deputies from the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office responded to Rowe Lane in rural Colleton County. The original call was regarding a dog bite that had allegedly occurred near that property earlier in the day. Colleton Sheriff R. Andy Strickland was one of the responding deputies.

While investigating that dog bite complaint, Strickland and his deputies saw a “small tool shed-like building,” that officers describe as being “barely visible due to large amounts of debris possessing the area,” as stated in a press release issued by the sheriff’s office.

The 12×12 building was filled with loft beds lining the walls and floor.

In a written statement issued by the sheriff’s office on January 7th, Strickland said the building had mold inside of it and there were cardboard boxes lining the walls for insulation. There were also numerous alcohol containers in the area, along with food being scattered all over the floor.

“After further investigation, Sheriff Strickland also observed there was no running water for bathing or drinking, along with no electricity to provide heat during harsh winter months,” said Shalane Lewis, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office. “As Sheriff Strickland walked around the location, he also noticed it was full of children’s toys, random chemicals, cookware full of rotting food, mounds of trash, including an old car tire that was full of fecal matter from being used as a toilet.”

Strickland then contacted the Colleton County Criminal Investigations Division and the county’s Department of Social Services agency. An investigation by both of these agencies is ongoing.

While deputies were on site, neighbors then told investigators that five children, two adults and four animals reside in that building.

As a result, Charlie Kidwell was arrested and has been charged with Unlawful Conduct Toward A Child. A warrant is also active for his wife, Precious Kidwell. She was arrested on Tuesday and charged with five counts of Unlawful Conduct Toward A Child.

As of press deadline, Precious Kidwell was awaiting bond.

Charlie Kidwell had a bond hearing on January 4th. His bond was set at $75,000. Terms of his bond include his being required to wear a GPS ankle-monitoring device and to have no contact with the children in question.

Kidwell told investigators that the children live permanently with their mother in Summerville, and only occasionally visit him at the Colleton County address.

Since their being found on Tuesday, they have been placed in DSS custody with Colleton County authorities.
“The Colleton County Criminal Investigations Division worked hard to recover these cildrne. We can all sleep better now knowing they have clean clothes, running water and are in the hands of people who have their best interest at heart,” said Strickland.

Heather Walters (1430 Posts)