CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - It's been almost three days since a Chandler couple last saw their children. It all began with a trip to the doctor because their toddler had a high fever. Now all three of their children are in the custody of the Department of Child Safety.
Police said the incident started on Feb. 25, when parents Sarah Beck and Brooks Bryce brought their 2-year-old son Heber to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine because the child was suffering from a fever.
Beck says the doctor found Heber's temperature to be 105 degrees and instructed them to take him to the ER, mentioning a concern for meningitis.
Once in her car, his mother retook his temperature and found it was going down.
"He's acting normal. He's dancing with his sisters in his car seat. And I take his temperature and it's 102," said Beck.
So they went home. She says by then the fever had dropped even more.
"We love our children, we love them. If our children needed help, we would absolutely help them," said Beck. "I told the doctor that I'd bring my son back for her to check and make sure that his fever was lower, and she said she wouldn't see him, and I had to take him in."
The doctor, learning they had not gone to the ER, called DCS, and later that night, the family got a visit from Chandler police.
Officers went to the family's home to check the child's welfare, but no one answered the door, even though police could hear "someone coughing inside one of the bedrooms," according to the police report.
After several failed attempts to get someone to open the door, police called the boy's father.
Police said Bryce answered the phone but told police that his son's fever had broken and "he was fine." According to the police report, Bryce was "argumentative and refused to exit the residence to talk with officers or DCS investigators."
"Like we're holding our kids hostage or they're deathly ill or barely alive. He was perfectly fine. He was in my arms sleeping. As I was on the phone with the officer I took his temperature, it was 100 degrees. There's no reason to give up my kids because he has a temperature of 100 degrees and sleeping," said Bryce.
When those inside the house continued to refuse to open the door, police said, "The decision was made to force entry of the home for DCS in order to take custody of the child."
According to the police report, they made the decision to go inside the home because:
-"there was a present danger [to the child] that required immediate medical attention"
-"Brooks and Sarah refused to come outside and refused to let DCS check on the welfare of [the child]."
-"There was a court order signed by the judge giving DCS temporary custody of [the child] in order to get him medical treatment."
So, police forced open the door. According to the police statement: "The front door was breached and the family members were called out of the residence."
The family's security camera recorded the moment police kicked open the door.
Inside the residence, two additional children (aged 4 and 6) were located, and police say they were also suffering "similar symptoms to include vomiting," according to the police document.
Inside the home, police said conditions were so cluttered and messy in the children's rooms that it was "difficult to walk in the rooms." One officer wrote in the police report, "There was clutter everywhere. The house was filled with items everywhere I looked."
The officer also said there were stains in the children's bedrooms and that children had told police they had vomited several times in their beds.
Police also said that inside the parents' room, "a shotgun was lying next to the bed, against the wall, and was not locked or secured."
"The clutter was laundry on our couch," said Bryce.
He says the children had been vomiting, but they were moved from their beds to sleep with their parents after messing their own beds.
As for the shotgun, he said, "it actually is inert. It does not work."
Two of the children were transported to the hospital by ambulance, while the third was transported by DCS. The 2-year-old was later admitted to the hospital, according to police.
Their parents have not heard from them since.
"I'm just beside myself. I just want my kids. I just want to know are they OK?" said Beck.
No charges were filed at the time. But police said detectives will follow up to determine if there are any criminal charges to pursue against the parents.