Amber L. Bruder, a 27-year-old resident of the Palm Pointe apartment complex off State Road 100 in Bunnell, was charged with felony child neglect and battery on a cop on Tuesday after her 3-year-old son was running around the parking lot naked and unattended until a maintenance worker spotted him and attempted to secure him. The child’s mother later told authorities she’d been drunk.
The maintenance worker Keon Brewer, was doing yard maintenance in the complex when he saw the 3-year-old boy running in the parking lot with his hands over his ears. (The worker initially believed the child was 1 year old.) Brewer walked up to the child and asked him where he lived. The child ran back in the direction of Building 5, apartment 5A, where Bruder lives. Brewer then resumed his work, only to then notice that the boy was now following him. So he took the child back to 5A, knocked on the door, which was ajar, and got no response.
Brewer knocked several more times. He yelled into the apartment. Still no answer. He started looking around the complex for a parent and ran into Angel Martinez, who told him that the child lives in 5A. Martinez called 911.
By then, Brewer calculated that it had been 30 minutes from the time he first noticed the child running around by himself.
Bunnell police officers showed up a little before 3 p.m. and tried to make contact with someone in the apartment, with the child, who ran into a back bedroom as the officer was knocking. The officer announced himself several times and, as with Brewer, got no response. “After receiving no response after approximately 45 seconds of making announcements, I feared the occupants could be suffering some type of medical issue, so I entered the residence,” the officer reported. “As I entered the residence, I observed a white female personally known to me as Amber Bruder, exiting the back bedroom.”
Bruder has had issues with the law previously. She’d been charged with domestic battery and criminal mischief in 2014 (the charges were dropped), and more recently brought an injunction against a former boyfriend who, according to court proceedings, had been abusive, and is not allowed near her or her children.
The officer told her why police had reported to the complex and asked her why her child had been outside, unsupervised. “When I asked this question,” the officer reported, Bruder “ refused to answer but continued to walk towards me. When Amber got close to me, she forcefully pushed me with one hand, and yelled ‘Get out’ as she attempted to close the door with the other hand. After Amber pushed me, she was subsequently secured in handcuffs.”
The alleged shove resulted in the additional felony charge of battery on a law enforcement officer.
Two officers then searched the apartment for any other occupants and located an infant only eight weeks old (she was born June 2) laying face down on the bed, with a pillow partially covering her head, according to Bruder’s arrest report. The second officer immediately checked on her well-being by picking her up. The child was only sleeping. But the diaper she was wearing was completely soiled in waste.
The interior of the apartment, the officers reported, had trash throughout, “with empty beer and liquor bottles within the bedroom that Amber exited.” Bruden declined to speak with the officers or to provide the two children’s personal information.
The mother and two children were taken to the Bunnell Police Department to await the arrival of a DCF official, who then took custody of the two young children. An officer then took Bruder to the Flagler County jail, where hse “began acting lethargic, and refused to answer the jail deputies’ questions,” her arrest report states. She was taken to the local hospital at the deputies’ request.
“While at Advent Health,” the report continues, “Amber was initially uncooperative and refused to answer the questions being asked by the medical professionals,” the report states. “After several attempts to obtain information, Amber admitted to the nurse that she was not under any controlled substance and that she was intoxicated. When the nurse asked Amber how much she had to drink she replied, ‘Too much.’” The hospital cleared her, and she was booked at the jail at 9:58 p.m, seven hours after deputies had reported to the apartment complex.
Four months ago Bruder was in the law offices of a Daytona Beach attorney, agreeing to the resolution of a case involving a third child, her 8-year-old daughter. The girl’s father had petitioned the court to establish paternity and shared custody rights. The couple agreed to take part in a three-month step-up program, the conflict-resolution approach designed for parents with the child’s best interests at heart, and to share custody–one week with the mother, one week with the father. That child appears not to have been in the apartment at the time of Tuesday’s incident.
“Both parties shall have shared parental responsibility and shall conduct themselves in such a manner as to be conducive to the welfare and best interests of the minor child,” Circuit Judge Chris France had written in his May 1 order. “Both parties shall notify the other parent immediately upon the occurrence of any emergency [a]ffecting the health, welfare or safety of the child.”
The judge’s order applied only to the older child and made no reference to Bruder’s two younger children.