Florida deputies say they found 2-year-old sleeping near animal feces, insects

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Toddler Reportedly Found Sleeping Near Animal Feces, Insects

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Sylvia Butler and Brandon Brantley were arrested early Sunday morning on felony child abuse and neglect charges, according to a report from the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office.

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The report said deputies found four children living in poor conditions.

The report said that deputies found insects, animal feces, soiled clothing and rotten and expired food in the mobile home.

According to the report, deputies found the 2-year-old sleeping on a car seat inside the home and the seat was surrounded by animal feces, trash and insects.

It also said one of the dogs in the home walked over the toddler multiple times after walking over feces.

This is the second time the children's caregivers have been arrested for child neglect.

Butler had custody of the children in the same house where Patricia Riggs and her boyfriend David Gorski were arrested in 2016 on charges of child neglect.

Stephanie Coltrane used to live across the street from the family.

She said her house sustained significant damage in a fire, forcing her to move.

Coltrane said neither she nor her family members knew of the alleged conditions described in the report.

She said she was distraught after learning about the arrests and what they mean for the children.

“I cried last night when I found out," said Coltrane.

She is hopeful that the children, who are now living with their grandmother, can find a fresh start.

“I hope these kids can have a better home life," said Coltrane. "I can't imagine what they’ve been through the last two years.”

According to the report, a neighbor told deputies she tried calling the Florida Department of Children and Families to report the living conditions, but said DCF responded by saying the home's exterior wasn't bad enough to send out an investigator.

The neighbor then contacted the Nassau County Sheriff's Office, which sent officials to the home.

WJAX-TV asked DCF about this process and was told all calls go to a hotline, and a decision is made there about whether the call meets the criteria.

WJAX-TV also asked DCF how children are placed in the care of a guardian and how guardians are selected.

Northeast Region communications director John Harrell released the following statement:

"The first priority of the Florida Department of Children and Families is child safety. We investigate reports of child abuse and neglect thoroughly. By law, we have 60 days to complete an investigation. If we determine that children are in danger due to evidence of abuse and neglect, then we would place the children into our care. We do extensive local, state and national background checks as well as a physical home inspection in order to determine who could safely care for the children. In these checks, we look for disqualifying offenses, including felony convictions of child abuse, abandonment, neglect, domestic violence, violent crime and more.

"Placement decisions are made by DCF, and all placement decisions are reviewed by dependency court judges for approval within 24 hours.

"We contract with local community-based care agencies that provide services to help families with children who are in care. These service cases are typically open for about a year, depending on the nature of the case. The case manager visits the home of the children at least monthly, if not more frequently. If someone suspects that a child may be the victim of abuse or neglect, they are required by state law to contact the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873) so that we can investigate and help the children."

Butler and Brantley are being held on bonds of $45,000.

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