Children spent 13 hours alone in bug-infested home without food, deputies say

Suspect tells deputies, 'I guess I'm just (expletive) stupid'

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – A woman who left four children alone for 13 hours without food in a filthy home crawling with insects and covered in animal waste said she was just "stupid" for thinking they would be alright by themselves, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

A witness called deputies Monday night to report that a 12-year-old, 11-year-old, 9-year-old and 8-year-old were alone in a filthy home, the report said. The eldest child said he or she went to school that day but the others did not.

Deputies said the children told them Sarah Mahoney left around 10 a.m. with her fiance and told the children that the 11-year-old would be responsible for babysitting the younger children.

When investigators inspected the home, they said there were flies swarming around 10 piles of dog feces, puddles of animal urine, seven cats and nine dogs roaming the residence, a sink full of dirty dishes and a refrigerator that only had rotten potatoes and insects inside.

Deputies said Mahoney arrived home at about 11 p.m. and said she left that morning to take a television to her mother-in-law's home and then when she got there, her fiance began working on a vehicle.

It was about 9 p.m. by the time he finished working on the vehicle and they started to drive home, but then they were pulled over and Mahoney's fiance was arrested, so she had to walk back to her mother-in-law's home to call a taxi, according to the report.

Mahoney admitted that the 11-year-old child was not mature enough to supervise the other children, records show. When deputies asked why she thought it'd be alright to leave the children alone, they said Mahoney replied, "I guess I'm just (expletive) stupid."

Mahoney, 31, was arrested on four counts of child neglect without bodily harm.