A naked 4-year-old girl found wandering a Florida neighborhood eventually led police to a home covered in “dirt, trash and fecal matter,” according to the Vero Beach Police Department.
Living conditions were so “deplorable,” officers arrested the girl’s parents on child neglect charges, police said in a news release.
The investigation began around 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, July 27, when a homeowner in the 2200 block of 18th Street reported “a 3 to 4 year-old child” wandering the yard. Vero Beach is about 105 miles southeast of Orlando.
“The child was reported to be unclothed and unattended,” police said.
“Witnesses in the area were able to point out that the child was seen leaving (a nearby home) approximately 45 minutes earlier by herself.”
Investigators visited the home — just over a block away — and met with a couple who identified themselves as parents of the 4-year-old girl and a 9-year-old.
“Both parents explained to officers that the 4-year-old child must have escaped through a bedroom window after they placed her down for a nap,” police said.
“Officers and detectives on scene were able to smell strong odors of urine and feces coming from within the residence. Officers were able to observe trash covering the living areas, kitchen, and bedrooms and feces on the walls through the front entrance and the windows of the residence.”
The Florida Department of Children and Families was summoned to conduct a home inspection and found “the walls and floors of the entire residence were covered in the dirt, trash and fecal matter,” police said.
“Mattresses that the children slept on were soiled and there was fecal matter on the floors. The kitchen of the residence was covered in dirt and dirty dishes. The inside of the refrigerator was covered in mold and it appeared to have no edible food,” police said.
“DCF investigators and detectives deemed the residence to be hazardous to anyone living there.”
The parents were arrested and face two charges each of child neglect, police said.
The Department of Children and Families took custody of the two children, officials said.