ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- A St. Johns County woman was recently arrested after police found a young girl in her custody covered with dirt and wandering around a shopping center.
Police arrested Patricia Devlin and charged her with child cruelty.
Police said the 4-year-old girl they found walking around alone in a St. Augustine Wal-Mart was covered with dirt had magic marker on her hands and face and hair matted to her head. They said it was obvious the child had not been bathed in days.
It sounds like she was trying to lose the little girl anyway.
When confronted, Devlin told an officer the child did not like to take baths and she never forced her. That response prompted an investigation by the Department of Children and Families.
A day later, detectives went to the home where the child was living with Devlin and discovered deplorable conditions.
Police said as soon as Devlin opened the door to her mobile home they could smell the odor of garbage and rotting food. One look was enough for investigators to arrest Devlin on the spot and take away the 4-year-old girl.
"Certainly, this was not an environment to be raising a 4-year-old child in," said St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Chuck Mulligan.
He said Devlin and the girl were living in filth. The child was sleeping on two seat cushions because her bed was littered with garbage, and a dog in the home was covered in feces.
A police report stated that the conditions inside the trailer were so bad and the odor so offensive that one of the investigators with DCF had to exit the home to vomit.
"It's never the child's fault, they're brought into that set of circumstances and they really don’t have much of a choice. It's not until we can intervene and attempt to set everybody back on the right path," Mulligan said.
Devlin is not the 4-year-old's mother but she is her legal guardian. According to police, the girl's mother is in jail and her father didn’t want custody.
Devlin is being held on $1,000 bond. The girl is in the custody of DCF. SOURCE
I am at a loss for words when I read this type of frequent story.