Sickened by roaches, Williamsburg woman trying to recover medical costs, rent, lost income


WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Roaches in your home can be a sickening problem, and for a woman who lives at the Regency at Longhill apartments, it couldn’t be more true.

Jennifer Johnson says she finds dozens of roaches at a time in her unit off Longhill Road.

“I’ve had them come out from under the stove,” Johnson said in a Thursday morning interview. “One day I was cleaning the tray to my toaster oven and I found a pretty big one that had been cooked and melted quite a few times.”

“We’ve had them in my coffee that I was drinking. I had them crawling up the walls. I’ve had them coming out of the bedroom area, and I’ve had them in my bed,” she said.

The infestation turned out to be literally sickening. Johnson’s doctor wrote a letter to apartment management, listing Johnson’s abdominal pain, sore throat and cough, and advising them to address the roaches.

“I was having an allergic reaction to the dust pollen off of the roaches and their waste,” Johnson said.

10 On Your Side went to the management office to get an explanation. The manager on duty retreated into an office, closed the door and refused to answer any questions and asked us to leave.

Johnson is not alone. A nun who lives next door is having the same problems.

“At night they’re everywhere. on the walls, just crawling all over,” said Sister Mary Nwachukwu. She said she had already killed seven roaches Thursday morning when we talked with her about 11:30 a.m.

Johnson started bagging the bugs after finding 28 in a single day.

“I flushed a lot, I threw a lot outside and then I got the idea to start saving them so I could prove it,” she said.

Johnson says management is letting her terminate her lease after living there for less than three months, as soon as she can get her furniture out. She had just bought a new sofa when she moved in in mid-August, but it remains wrapped in plastic because she doesn’t want it to get contaminated.

Johnson says she is trying to recover $9,000 from the complex in rent money, security deposit, lost income and doctor bills. She does accounting work from home but hasn’t been able to because of the living conditions.

She says the emotional cost has also been heavy.

“It really messes with your head. Everything you see, you think it’s moving. It freaks you out,” she said.

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