Bunnell, FL - Three children—including two toddlers and a week-old infant—are in the custody of a family member after Flagler County deputies arrest their parents for making them live in deplorable conditions.
The Flagler County Sheriff's Office (FCSO) was called to the home off County Road 75 early Thursday morning (April 22) after a neighbor had called to say they heard children screaming from inside the home.
When deputies arrived at the residence they could immediately hear a child yelling for their mother. As they got closer, deputies could see that a child was banging their juice cup against the wall as if they were asking for something to drink. They also observed large piles of trash near the front door and noticed a foul smell coming from inside.
Eventually, deputies made contact with 26-year-old Christina Coe and 27-year-old Gilbert Bridewell. When deputies entered the home they observed more trash scattered throughout the house and found cockroaches on the floors, walls, inside the refrigerator, on beds, and one crawling near a child's pacifier.
Deputies also found feces scattered along one bed, per a report released by the sheriff's office.
When asked about the condition of the home, Coe told deputies that she's "trying her best." They also asked Coe about when the last time the children were bathed, to which Coe said they were bathed at a neighbor's home earlier that day. However, law enforcement noted that the children were wearing dirty clothes, had dirt covering their feet and legs, and their diapers had not been changed.
Deputies inquired further about baths and asked if the children ever received one in their home. Coe said she had a plastic tub in the master bedroom that they use regularly, but deputies found it still in its original packaging, covered in dust.
As a result of their investigation, both Coe and Bridewell have been charged with three counts of felony child neglect without great bodily harm. Both remain in custody without bond.
"I am so glad that we were able to get these kids out of this house before someone was injured or became seriously ill as a result of the conditions inside the home," Flagler Sheriff Rick Staly said. "Between the trash, bugs, and the human excrement found inside the home, this situation could have had a tragic ending."
The children, a 1-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a 7 day old infant, were removed from the home and placed into the care of a family member.