Michelle Sofia, 35, and Willie Lee London, 41, are facing three felony child neglect charges each in connection with Bunnell police discovering their three children living in abject conditions at 811 Hymon Circle, with no food, running water or sanitation. The children are an 11-year-old girl, a 12-year-old boy and a 17-year-old boy.
The children are Sofia’s, but London, her live-in boyfriend, cares for them as his own. A Bunnell police officer responded to the Hymon Circle house in early afternoon Tuesday to investigate a trespassing. It isn’t clear what led the officer to enter the home.
Inside, the officer described “layers of dirt, piles of soiled clothing, layers of feces and piles of rat droppings throughout the residence. There are three refrigerators within the residence.” Two were not working and were filled with moldy food and bugs. The third contained only condiments. The kitchen was piled with dirty dishes crawling with roaches. One bedroom had only a thin mattress with no sheets. Another of the children’s bedrooms had no mattress. The bathroom was inoperable and clogged, there being no water.
London told the officer that anyone needing a shower had to use facilities at a municipal park or go to a friend’s house, though the closest park has no such facilities. The children told the officer that they had not showered in two days.
The Department of Children and Families was called in and a social worker toured the house, concluding it was not suitable to live in. The children were turned over to DCF’s custody. Sofia and London were taken to the Flagler County jail, where they were each booked on three charges of child neglect, each a third-degree felony.
Last fall the couple was the subject of an eviction after living at at apartment on South Chapel Street. After the landlord conducted an inspection there, the apartment was found to be in violation of housekeeping standards, with a roach infestation, rotting food and trash not taken out. A subsequent re-inspection revealed additional violations. An eviction order was signed on Oct. 27. Sofia attempted to stay the eviction, describing herself as a disabled person still suffering the consequences of a debilitating car crash several years ago. The court denied the stay.
The couple also each faces a misdemeanor charge of filing a false police report the previous day when, in the afternoon of Jan. 22, Sofia alleged that a white vehicle struck her daughter while her daughter was skateboarding in the driveway of 816 Hymon Circle. A review of surveillance video by a Bunnell police officer showed the girl skillfully avoiding the car. There was no collision.
The couple are being held at the county jail on $16,000 bond each.