JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Two Flagler County parents were arrested on felony charges after deputies say their young children were found in deplorable conditions.
Christina Coe, 26, and Gilbert Bridewell, 27, were charged with three counts of felony child neglect without great bodily harm.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office received calls from neighbors reporting that they heard children screaming from inside a home on 1745 County Road 75 in Bunnell on Thursday.
FCSO deputies responded to the home and heard a child yelling, “Mommy! Mommy!,” along with loud banging noises coming from inside the home. Deputies said the loud noises were later determined to be from a child banging a juice cup against the wall asking for something to drink.
As deputies approached the home, they noticed large piles of trash near the front door and a "foul" smell coming from inside the home, according to FCSO.
Shortly after responding to the scene, deputies identified Coe and Bridewell as the children's parents. The children were two, one, and seven days old, FCSO said.
When deputies walked inside the home they found more trash scattered all over the floor.
There were also several cockroaches deputies reported seeing on the floor, walls, inside the refrigerator, crawling in the beds, and even crawling near a child’s pacifier, FCSO said.
Additionally, deputies said they noticed feces on the walls and in the children’s beds.
Deputies questioned the Coe about the condition of the home and she stated that she was "trying her best."
Coe also told deputies that the children took a bath at a neighbor’s home earlier that day. However, deputies said all of the children appeared to be wearing dirty clothing and had dirt covering their legs and feet, and their diapers had not been changed.
Coe claimed to have had a plastic bathtub for the children that was used on a regular basis inside of the master bedroom, FCSO said. However, when deputies found the tub, they said it was still in its original packaging and it did not appear to have been used.
Based on the evidence discovered throughout the home, FCSO contacted the Department of Children and Families and a caseworker responded to the home to assess the situation.
After investigating, DCF removed all three children from the home and placed them into the custody of a family member, deputies said.
“I am so glad that we were able to get these kids out of this house before someone was injured or became seriously ill as a result of the conditions inside the home,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Between the trash, bugs, and the human excrement found inside the home, this situation could have had a tragic ending. Hopefully, DCF and other agencies will help these parents and children get the help they need. It is unfortunate these conditions and the parent’s lack of actions deteriorated to a criminal case.”
Coi and Bridewell were transported to the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility.