LAKE MARY, Fla. - The parents of two toddlers and a newborn baby have been arrested after deputies said they discovered the children were living in a home surrounded by trash, bugs, and feces.
Deputies with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) received calls from neighbors reporting that they heard children screaming from inside a Bunnell home.
As deputies approached the residence, they said they heard a small child yelling "Mommy! Mommy!" as well as loud banging noises coming from inside the home. They said they observed large piles of trash near the front door as well as a foul smell emitting from inside the home.
The parents of two toddlers and a newborn baby have been arrested after deputies said they discovered the children were living in a home surrounded by trash, bugs, and feces.
Contact was then made with the mother of the children, Christina Coe, 26, as well as the father, Gilbert Bridewell, 27. Upon entering the house, deputies said they saw more trash scattered along the floor of all the bedrooms "and all the rooms were in total disarray."
In an arrest report, a deputy wrote, "I observed numerous cockroaches walking along the floor, walls, fridge as well as the beds. It should be noted, while in the master bedroom I observed a pacifier which...had multiple cockroaches nearby, and there were feces scattered along the bed."
Deputies said Coe told them she was "trying her best," when asked about the condition of the home. When asked when the last time the children had received a bath, Coe stated the children were bathed at a neighbor’s home earlier that day.
Gilbert Bridewell , 27, and Christina Coe, 26, were arrested, each charged with three counts of felony child neglect without great bodily harm.
However, deputies noted that all of the children were wearing dirty clothing, had dirt covering their legs and feet, and their diapers had not been changed.
Deputies contacted the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) and a caseworker arrived to assess the situation. Under the recommendation of DCF, all three children -- ages 2, 1, and 7 days old -- were removed from the home and placed into the custody of a family member.
"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," Sheriff Rick Staly said. "Between the trash, bugs, and the human excrement found inside the home, this situation could have had a tragic ending. Hopefully, DCF and other agencies will help these parents and children get the help they need. It is unfortunate these conditions and the parent’s lack of actions deteriorated to a criminal case."
Coe and Bridewell were arrested, each charged with three counts of felony child neglect without great bodily harm.