Woman Convicted of Keeping Kids in Flushing ‘House of Horrors’

A Flushing woman last week was convicted after trial of endangering the lives of her son and two granddaughters by failing to provide them with a habitable environment, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Katherine Vartholomeou, 48, who has been free on $2,500 bail since her arraignment last January, was convicted on Thursday after a four-day jury trial of three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

According to trial testimony, while investigating a pattern of burglaries, Vartholomeou’s son, Dimitrios Vlahakis, 24, became a prime suspect. In executing a court-authorized search warrant for stolen property at Vartholomeou’s 41st Avenue residence—which had previously been the scene of a fire—officers found three younger children—Vartholomeou’s two granddaughters, ages 2 and 3, and her 8-year-old son—living in squalor and hiding in the refuse.

According to court records, cops saw objects piled several feet high and covered in refuse, and extension cords running to lights dangerously close to objects that could have caught fire. Additionally, the house was missing some exterior walls and part of the roof, had no electrical service other than extension cords running into the house from a neighboring house, and no running water. Police also observed buckets of human waste scattered throughout the house, as well as rodents and insects.

The three children are in the custody of family members.

Dimitrios Vlahakis, 24, pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property on March 5, 2014, and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

Sentencing for Vartholomeou is set for March 19, 2015, at which time she faces up to a year in jail.


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