Toddler wearing soiled diaper removed from mold-covered, bug-infested home

Child's mother, grandmother arrested on child neglect charges

Natasha Johnson and Brelinda Rose.
Natasha Johnson and Brelinda Rose.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A toddler wandering the streets alone wearing only a soiled diaper led authorities to discover the boy had been living in a deplorable residence that was covered in mold, crawling with insects and ripe with rotting food, according to the Daytona Beach Police Department.

Police said the investigation began Friday morning near Pine Street when a neighbor found the 2-year-old boy walking by himself near an intersection, so she brought him into her home to keep him safe and called 911.

While canvassing the neighborhood, officers said they saw a home with the door open and found the toddler's 18-year-old uncle sleeping inside. That man told officers that he accidentally fell asleep while he was supposed to be watching the child and he didn't realize the boy had left the home, according to the affidavit.

Police described the conditions in the home as deplorable and noted that the putrid stench caused one officer to vomit.

The home was cluttered with moldy furniture and rotting items, dead and live bugs were present on nearly every surface and the smell of mold, urine and feces filled the air, according to the report.

Inside the fridge, officers said they found rotting meat products, liquefying vegetables, bugs and cockroaches roaming the shelves and absolutely no edible food or anything to drink.

The man who was at the home told officers that an 11-year-old girl, who is the toddler's aunt, also lives at the home but she was at school when officers arrived, the affidavit said.

The toddler's mother, 22-year-old Natasha Johnson, told officers that she asked her 18-year-old brother to watch the child so she could spend the night at her boyfriend's house, according to the report. Police said the man was not mentally capable of caring for a child, which is why they did not arrest him.

The mother of the 11-year-old girl, 44-year-old Brelinda Rose, said the home his been in its current condition for several years.

Johnson and Rose were both charged with child neglect.

Both children have been taken into custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

On Saturday morning both woman had their first appearances before a Volusia County judge. Rose's bail was set at $1,000. The judge said because of her arrest Johnson violated her probation of a previous misdemeanor battery conviction and ordered her held without bond.

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