HESPERIA A former Riverside County Sheriff's deputy and his wife, a Hesperia school employee, were arrested Tuesday for cruelty to a child after local deputies found their younger children had not been to school in several weeks and were living in filthy conditions, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Hesperia station officials said Wednesday.


Kelly Hayes, 39, and his wife, Melisa Hayes, 36, were arrested for cruelty to a child Tuesday morning. Code enforcement red-tagged their home for its unsanitary conditions rendering it uninhabitable.


Deputies Lisa Guerra and Gerardo Moreno were called to the Hayes' home in the 12900 block of Clovis Street after a concerned citizen reported the two younger Hayes children 10- and 12-year-old boys were frequently left alone and were not attending school regularly, Roxanne Walker, spokeswoman for the Hesperia station, said.


When deputies arrived, they could hear the television was on but no one came out when they knocked on the door, sheriff's officials stated. The front door was left open and concerned over the children's safety, deputies walked in and found the 10-year-old inside alone.


The home was in complete disarray with animal feces and urine all over the house as well as old food and dirty clothing, Walker said. Deputies found several animals in the home, including five dogs, fours cats and a hamster. They also found and secured seven firearms.


During the investigation, deputies learned that the father, Kelly Hayes, would give his 12-year-old son rides on the back of his motorcycle without the child wearing a helmet.


Deputies discovered the 10-year-old had not been in school since April and his older brother had missed more than 40 days of school last year. However, Hesperia Unified School District officials said a portion of the boys' absences had been excused by the parents. The boys' 17-year-old sister was enrolled in high school and had been actively attending class, Walker said.


About an hour into Guerra and Moreno's investigation, Kelly Hayes returned home, authorities said. Officials then called Melisa Hayes at her job at a Hesperia school where she is the administrative secretary.


The parents were arrested and all three children were removed from the home.


"This is a surprise and shock to us," HUSD Superintendent Mark McKinney said. "We will cooperate with law enforcement to the full extent. Our priority is the safety of children and staff."


McKinney said dismissal action of a school employee would be taken only if there was a conviction.


Neighbors also expressed disbelief at the couple's arrest and said the children were always friendly.


According to court records, Kelly Hayes was arrested in 2008 for driving under the influence resulting in great bodily harm when he crashed into another vehicle in Hesperia, officials said. He was sentenced to 180 days in county jail. He was again arrested in 2010 for driving under the influence after he crashed into a block wall along Escondido Road in Hesperia. His wife only had a minor vehicle code violation on her record.


The couple was scheduled to be arraigned today in Victorville Superior Court.


Beatriz E. Valenzuela may be reached at (760) 951-6276 or at BValenzuela@VVDailyPress.com.