A Dill City couple could be spending the rest of their lives behind bars following their arrests last month. Kami Louise Hawkins and Dustin Allen Hawkins were each charged with two felony counts of child neglect and one felony count of animal cruelty. Kami Hawkins was also charged with a single felony count of harboring a fugitive from justice.
The case dates back to a child welfare call made to the Washita County Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 19, 2019. Deputy Kelby Peoples was dispatched to the Hawkins’ Dill City residence in response to a tip that two young boys, ages eight and 10, were left alone in a filthy home in which there was no running water.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Peoples, when he arrived at the residence and made contact with the children they confirmed they were left alone in the house and that the water was off. The also told Peoples there were at least 15 dogs in the house. Their mother, they said, was at work and their father was “in a sober living house somewhere.”
Peoples then contacted the Department of Human Services and was informed that a referral had already been made and a case worker had been assigned. Peoples then contacted Kami Hawkins by phone at her place of employment and informed her that a welfare check had been requested and that he had phoned for DHS assistance in the matter. Hawkins told Peoples she worked from 2:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. and was unable to leave work, but had made arrangements for her neighbor to watch the boys.
According to Peoples’ report, he took the boys to the neighbor’s house. She told Peoples she had occasionally watched the boys but there was no arrangement for her to care for them every night. She also stated that she had fed them dinner three or four nights the previous week because the boys had told her they had no food in the house. She also indicated that she had tried to go gather the boys’ laundry the previous day because they had no clean clothes. She said she was unable to get the front door open wide enough to get the laundry basket through it, but based upon what she could see through the slightly open door she wouldn’t have been able to locate their clothes anyway.
Peoples returned to the residence the following day, accompanying Lauren Exinia of DHS. Kami Hawkins reportedly refused to cooperate with Exinia and refused to allow Exinia and Peoples to perform a walk-through of the residence. At that point Peoples said he advised Kami Hawkins that Dustin Hawkins had outstanding warrants and she would be subject to arrest if he was discovered at the residence. Kami Hawkins reportedly told Peoples Dustin Hawkins was not in the residence, but living in a sober living house.
On Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, Peoples obtained a search warrant for the Hawkins residence, based upon visible evidence of child neglect and animal cruelty, as well as the possible presence of Dustin Hawkins, a wanted fugitive. Peoples, along with Deputy Curtis Weatherly, knocked on the front door of the residence to execute the search warrant. Peoples reported hearing Kami Hawkins voice as she came to the door. As she was coming to the door, Dustin Hawkins attempted to flee the residence through a bedroom window, where he was arrested by Undersheriff Kenny Loftiss and Deputy Tim Wedel, who were watching the back of the house. Kami Hawkins claimed she had been asleep and was unaware of Dustin Hawkins’ presence in the residence.
Upon gaining entry to the residence to execute the search warrant, Peoples discovered what he described as a “scene of absolute filth.”
“There was no running water and little to no edible food in the refrigerator or cabinets,” he wrote. “A stack of full large garbage sacks was piled in the kitchen reaching the ceiling and miscellaneous food trash such as to-go food boxes with molding food were scattered throughout the kitchen and living room area. In the hallway there was a box of rotten fruit with flies swarming around it. The floor of the house was falling in places and there were holes in the floor where the ground underneath the house was visible. There did not appear to be a single foot of floor space that was not covered with trash or filthy in some other manner. There was a mattress laid on the floor of the living room next to a couch that appeared to be where everyone in the house would sleep. In the bathroom there was no sink, just exposed plumbing with a hole in the floor where the sink was likely located. A plastic tub was laid over the hold in the bathroom floor and looked to contain urine. The toilet was still in use even though there was no running water and it contained feces.”
In addition, Peoples reported the presence of 17 dogs in or at the residence, but no water or food were visible for the animals. He coordinated with the Cordell Animal Shelter Project to care for 16 of the dogs, but was unable to capture the last one.
The child neglect charges are each punishable by up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $500. If convicted on the animal cruelty charges, both Dustin and Kami Hawkins could be sentenced to an additional five years and/or fined up to $5,000. Kami Hawkins could also be sentenced to an additional 10 years and fined up to $10,000 if convicted of harboring a fugitive.