UXBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) – The man who lived in the basement of a squalid home where the remains of three babies were found spoke out Wednesday for the first time, saying he was unaware of the "inhuman" and "unbelievable" conditions his children were living in because he was not allowed upstairs.
"I was crushed that she would do that," a trembling and crying Raymond Rivera said, following a brief court appearance in Uxbridge District Court in Massachusetts. "I never saw the infant at all."
Rivera, who was the father of at least two of the children removed from that house, has not been charged with neglecting the children or in connection with the infant remains. Instead he faces three charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
Rivera, 37, did not have a lawyer Wednesday and said he will have to use his retirement money to help pay for one since he quit his job at an office supply store and is living out of his car. "I'm crumbling. I'm crumbling," said Rivera, who is also referred to as Ramon Rivera III in some public documents, as he walked away from reporters.
Erika Murray, the children's mother, has pleaded not guilty to fetal death concealment, permitting substantial injury to a child and child endangerment. She's due in court in January.
Rivera, who is expected back in court on Dec. 17, said Murray worked hard to keep him in the dark about the dire living conditions upstairs. He maintained that Murray told him to "go in the basement" and "stay in the basement" and never talked about her pregnancies. "Nobody outside knows what went on in that house," Rivera said.
The state Department of Children and Families took custody of four children ranging in age from 5-months old to 13-years-old from the Blackstone home in August. The two youngest survivors were found covered in their own feces, malnourished and severely neglected. They did not appear to have ever been taken outside the house.
The bodies of the three babies were found in the home in September. The house, which is owned by Rivera's sister, was vermin-infested, with rooms filled with trash, soiled diapers and the remains of several animals. It was condemned and demolished.