Hundreds of kids have been rescued from a children's refuge full of rats and fleas where they are believed to have faced sexual abuse, Mexican officials say. Police and troops joined forces to free the children from the home, called "La Gran Familia," or the Big Family, in Zamora, western Mexico, Reuters reports. "There were around 500 children in truly terrible conditions," says the country's attorney general, Jesus Murillo Karam. Six infants were among those rescued; some 131 adults also lived in the home. The children slept on the floors and took to the streets to beg for money, officials say.
Some kids were never allowed to leave the site, Murillo Karam says, per the AP. Authorities were alerted to the crisis after more than 50 complaints about the home. Parents reported that they weren't allowed to see their kids, Michoacan Gov. Salvador Jara says. One mom herself grew up at the home, where she had two children. They were registered under the name of owner Rosa del Carmen Verduzco, and she kept them when the mother was permitted to leave at age 31, the AP notes. Verduzco is being held along with eight others for questioning.