Deputies who responded to the 911 call from a neighbor were distressed by what they found on a road in Espanola, the tiny hamlet west of Palm Coast, a little before 1 p.m. Sunday.
Two boys, one of them a year old, the other 2 years old, were wandering around the intersection of County Road 13 and North Old Dixie Highway, unsupervised, according to a police report. A deputy recognized one of the boys from a previous 911 call to the area on Oct. 27, when police were called because a child was roaming around, naked and unsupervised. On Sunday, the boy was pushing a toy car.
The 2-year-old boy was somewhat clothed: he was wearing a yellow shirt “and a diaper that was extremely dirty with feces protruding from it,” the police report states. “He further had feces running down his legs.” The 1-year-old was wearing only a diaper, also soiled to excess. He had “numerous bug bites on his legs, and his legs were extremely red,” the deputy found. “He additionally had a cut on his right big toe and had additional bug bites on his back. Both children had fresh scratches on their legs and were covered in dirt.”
Neighbors were trying to tend to the children. Four such neighbors told deputies that they’d noticed the children wandering around the streets and the neighborhood for about 30 minutes before one of them called 911. The deputy in the arrest report noted that the area where the children were wandering is “heavily traveled,” because of a three-way stop.
Deputies arrived at the scene at 12:52 p.m. Jennifer Prevatt, one of the deputies, noted in the arrest report that she knew where the children lived, because of the prior call. At 1:24 p.m., a deputy noted in the arrest report, Josie-Lynn Walters, 22, stepped out of her home at 3130 County Road 13 and approached the deputy’s car.
“I then inquired as to why her children were out in the street unsupervised again,” Prevatt reported. Walters told the deputy she had been sleeping, as she delivers newspapers and works the night shift. Walters delivers papers for the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Walters told the deputy she’d fallen asleep at 9:30 that morning, with the children asleep in bed with her. She had just woken up, she said. She didn’t know how the children managed to keep unlocking the door. Prevatt asked her if, as she was advised to do when cops were last at her home, she’d installed locks on the door at a higher level, to prevent the children from reaching the locks. “Walters stated she hadn’t installed these locks,” Prevatt reported.
Walters was arrested on two counts of child neglect, a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison, “due to the fact that [Walters’s] children were unsupervised for a known time of approximately an hour and seven minutes,” in unsanitary conditions.
Walters was booked at the Flagler County jail on $2,000 bond, where she remained on Tuesday evening. The children’s case was turned over to the Department of Children and Families.