JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After living in filthy conditions, two parents on Jacksonville’s Northside have been arrested and face child neglect charges.
According to the arrest report, the suspects, Annabelle and Stephen Rawlins, were living in a home full of bugs and mold.
It says the father, one of the suspects arrested, knew of the bad conditions and said he only needed a week to clean it up and fix the bug problem.
Roaches, fleas, and an obscene amount of clutter can be seen in the appalling video given to Action News Jax, in which many of the walls are covered in roaches.
“I was very overwhelmed, very overwhelmed, and I put myself in the kids’ shoes, and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it,” Amber Baker said.
Baker lives next door to the Rawlinses, took the video and gave it to Action News Jax. She said she’s never seen anything so bad.
According to the arrest report, it says the home was covered with insects and that the bed where the kids sleep was covered in fleas, cockroaches, and other bugs.
“Nothing but trash, half-eaten hot dogs and roaches is all I can remember,” Baker said. “Gnats all in my face and dirty diapers everywhere, it was beyond livable means.”
The arrest report says debris, mold, and clutter can be seen everywhere. It states the water in the kitchen and bathroom didn’t work, before adding that the tub hasn’t been used in months and the kids were told to go to the bathroom outside.
“There’s no excuse for this, no financial reason, no emotional reasons. It’s just not acceptable,” Baker said.
The report says the kids have been taken out of custody until a permanent solution is found.
Close family members and relatives did not want to speak on camera but say right now, the kids have been placed with other family members.
Witnesses in the report told an officer that a church offered the suspects help but was denied.
A person whose name was redacted in the report also said DCF has been out several times and offered a number of services.
Close relatives told Action News Jax they feel as if the system failed them.
Action News Jax also reached out to DCF, who said they can’t confirm or comment on whether the Rawlins have been or are being investigated.
The public defender’s office has been appointed to the case, but an attorney hasn’t been assigned to defend the Rawlins.
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