In the early afternoon of Aug. 28–this past Sunday–a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy responded to the house at 18 Reid Place in Palm Coast, where he’d been called by the Department of Children and Families. The department had received an anonymous tip about conditions in the house being unsuitable for children.
Unsuitable turned out to be an understatement when the deputy walked in, after smelling something foul emanating from the house. “Inside the residence, there was what appeared to be animal feces and animal food all over the floors,” the deputy reported. “Also on the floors was garbage, such as empty containers, empty food packaging and a plethora of other garbage. The kitchen sink was full of what appeared to be dishes, and one of the several cats that were in the residence was drinking the water out of the sink.”
The deputy was unable to make his way through the house because of “the overabundance of garbage and animal feces on the floor,” according to his report.
Then there were the children: a 5-year-old girl, an 8-year-old boy and a 14-year-old boy. None wore shoes. The youngest was barefoot despite the debris on the floors. A DCF official at the scene spoke with the children, one of whom told her that it had been days, possibly weeks, since she’d last been bathed. A neighbor told the deputy and the DCF official that the children had been in the house through the summer, but that it was unclear if they were enrolled in school, which resumed last week.
The children’s mother is Theresa Anne Martone, 35. The 1,300-square-foot house is owned by Richard Martone, of Presidential Lane in Palm Coast, who executed a quitclaim deed on the property on May 18.
The children were taken under the care of DCF.
Palm Coast Animal Control was called in to take possession of the animals in the house: there were 23 cats, six dogs, two ferrets and one rabbit.
Theresa Martone, who was briefly jailed in April as a fugitive from justice, was arrested on three counts of child abuse and 30 counts of cruelty to animals. She has posted bond.
Ok so how does the Palm coast code enforcement unit miss this. I know how there too busy taking orders from their city manager to go bother the businesses don’t worry about the 23 cats and six dogs ferretts and the ODOR coming from the house. Did I mention the children.
Nah let’s be nice to code enforcement howcould not catch this one? they were simply TOO BUSY……….
This is the most horrible situation a child could be in. I cannot believe this woman. I am disgusted. People do not need to have children if they are not going to take care of them. SMH
This was the saddest story I read this AM. I can not Understand how people can live like this and not see a problem. You have the money to buy hair color, but you cant take care of your children……. AND YOU HAVE Animals Really…..I feel horrible for the children. It makes me wonder what the out side of this house looked like… Unbelievable!!!
some guy says
PC Code enforcement does not look at the INSIDE of our homes
There are a lot of missing pieces here. Is Ms Martone depressed? Mentally ill? Alcoholic or drugged out? Was there running water? There were cleaning supplies in the house. Couldn’t the 14 year old have at least washed the dishes and bathe the littlest one? What did they have to eat and how did they feed the animals? And what about the relative(?) on Presidential Lane? Why was there no intervention? It’s hard to judge when you don’t know the whole story and it’s probably none of our business, but it sounds like this family, living in our midst, really, really needed help.
Totally agree with some guy. As inside a private home is not the Palm Coast Code Enforcement jurisdiction to enforce of course. Not their fault here.
Why would you blame code enforcement? This is clearly a sheriff’s department issue. Really????
What will you say when they knock on your door and want to come in????
Sarah Vandergrift says
This is totally unbelievable. People constantly worry about animals, but animals DO NOT live like this human? did!! The poor children. I imagine she is out of jail today and running to her mailbox for her welfare monies!! We taxpayers pay to help this type of person exist!! The welfare monies should be CUT-OFF NOW for this woman and the monies put back into the system to pay for the costs ofr the kids now being in foster care!! Also, this woman just caused more innocent animals to more than likely be euthanized and that cost is provided by the taxpayer also. Why is she still allowed to even have her kids and back on the streets with animals, etc. with her past history???? Ridiculous!! It gets worse and worse every day. Hope this woman gets the book and not just another slap on the hand. A real SLOB!!
NASTY NASTY NASTY!!!! I’m a depressed wreck, but I WOULD NOT live like this!!!!! Kids or not!!!! This lady needs some serious hygiene classes or something…so gross…what I do not understand is how you could even want to eat in such conditions??!! Glad the kids were taken to a cleaner environment ((hopefully))…