50ºF

Deputies arrest couple after child found wandering alone

Child found wearing only a dress in 50 degree temperatures

Ashley Rook and Thomas "TJ" Thomas are charged with child neglect.
Ashley Rook and Thomas "TJ" Thomas are charged with child neglect.

LAKE PANASOFFKEE, Fla. – Two people were arrested on Monday after deputies say a delivery man found a 2-year-old child wandering alone in a front yard.

Sumter County investigators say the child was found wearing only a dress, no socks, shoes or a coat. They said the temperature was 53 degrees when the child was found.

Deputies said they knocked on the front door, and no one answered.

When they entered, they said they found drug paraphernalia and what they suspected was marijuana in plain view.

They said they found Ashley Rook and Thomas "TJ" Thomas in a rear bedroom asleep.

Deputies said they arrested both of them for drug possession and child neglect.

According to his arrest report, Thomas was also charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon.

Both posted bond on Tuesday, according to Sumter County court records.

News 6 investigated and found out family members of Rook filed a petition to get temporary custody of a child in Rook's home on Friday -- two days before the 2-year-old was found alone.

The judge has not ruled on that petition.


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