Florida woman charged with abuse, neglect after deputies said they found boys living in filth

A Florida woman has been charged with neglecting two boys under the age of 16 after deputies said they found their home was "cluttered and filthy, littered with animal and human waste and infested with bugs," the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies were called to assist the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) in investigating an anonymous tip that the boys were being neglected. Upon their arrival at a home in Pierson, deputies and a DCF investigator met with Bettina Miller, 66, who invited them into the home. 

"Deputies observed deplorable conditions, including learning that the home’s plumbing had been broken for several weeks, rendering the toilets unusable," a sheriff's office spokesman said. "The residents use buckets to use the bathroom inside, and a water hose outside to shower."

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Deputies said they also saw spoiled food and insects in the kitchen, as well as trash and clothes covering the floor in each bedroom. Deputies also said they saw several dogs and puppies in the home, with some kept in cages and others loose.

Deputies observed a chain and padlock on Miller’s bedroom.  According to investigators, she said she only uses the lock to keep the boys out of her room and not to lock them inside.

According to the sheriff's office, the boys have not attended school in months or seen a doctor in years. 

Deputies arrested Miller and charged her with child neglect and abuse. She was transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail.  She has since bonded out of jail.  

DCF took the boys into custody until arrangements can be made to place them with other family members. Volusia County Animal Control was also alerted about the dogs and puppies at the home.