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Dad charged over squalid home

A 4-year-old girl on the couch played with a hypodermic needle next to her.

Another needle floated in a nearby jug of juice.

Mold covered everything in the kitchen, and there was no sink.

The home didn't have any running water, a natural gas supply or electricity.

Since there weren't any utilities, a propane blowtorch was rigged to the hot water tank to heat the home's water supply.

On top of all that was the atrocious smell of feces, urine and mold that filled the house.

One of the Fort Wayne officers who arrived at the home wrote in his report it was “nearly the worst” house he ever investigated.

The deplorable conditions in which the homeowner and girl's father, 24-year-old Norman M. Dalman, kept his house in the 6300 block of Bradbury Avenue resulted in his arrest Thursday afternoon on a preliminary charge of neglect of a dependent.

The child's mother was also arrested on an unrelated misdemeanor conversion charge.

Investigators discovered that the only electricity feed to the home came from an extension cord connected to a nearby outbuilding that did not belong to Dalman.

In addition to the syringe next to the child on the couch, officers found another hypodermic needle floating in a gallon jug of juice next to the child, a probable cause affidavit said.

Dalman told police during his interview that the utilities were shut off about three months ago.

He didn't have any explanation as to where the needles came from, according to the affidavit.

Dalman also said the family stays in the home only two or three days a week because of its conditions, and he conceded the home was not safe “for even a few minutes” for his daughter, the report said.

The Indiana Department of Child Services removed the child from the home.

Dalman was being held without bail on a probation violation.