STAFFORD TOWNSHIP — A township man and woman were arrested Thursday and charged with four counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child after police discovered they were using and distributing heroin from their home, authorities said.

Township police in conjunction with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit arrested Ian Schwester, 41, and Christina Bicki, 36, of the 400 block of Nautilus Drive in the Ocean Acres section of the township after a monthlong investigation.

On Feb. 12, Stafford police went to the home for a welfare check involving a 1-year-old child. Three other children also lived there with their parents. Officers said they found the home in deplorable condition and unfit for children. They said they found a refrigerator containing rotting and spoiled food, trash and soiled clothing throughout the residence, as well as drug paraphernalia and the evidence of drug use in close proximity to where the children played.

The 1-year-old girl was found unharmed in fair condition in the basement of the home, they said.

Police said that the child’s grandfather, who was the only adult on scene, stated that he could not locate the children’s parents. The children — who include an 8-year-old boy, an 11-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl — were placed into foster care by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

Stafford Detective Drew Smith along with Detective Anthony Paciulli of the prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit conducted a further investigation, which revealed that the parents were using and distributing a significant quantity of heroin out of the home while the four children were present, authorities said.

The mother and father were in the Ocean County Jail on $100,000 bail each, with a pending appearance in Ocean County Superior Court. The children were staying with temporary foster families until more permanent arrangements can be made, police said.

The children are in need of new clothing and food, and the Stafford Township Policemen's Benevolent Association has started a collection for the children in the form of gift cards. Anyone wishing to donate a gift card may make a donation directly at Police Department headquarters or mail a donation to Stafford PBA 297, P.O. Box 746, Manahawkin, NJ 08050.

Contact Donna Weaver:


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Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.