Bunnell, FL – A couple in Flagler County are facing child neglect charges after their 14-year-old daughter called a hotline on Halloween night and said she was considering suicide because of her living conditions.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the Abuse Hotline that the teenage girl was considering suicide because of the physical and emotional abuse by her mother and terrible living conditions, WHDN reported.
The sheriff’s office said in a press release that the girl told the hotline that she was being homeschooled, but not actually being taught anything.
Instead, she was a full-time caregiver for four younger siblings, three dogs, a rabbit, and two chickens.
Flagler County sheriff’s deputies responded to the residence on Water Oak Road in Bunnell and found the girl’s description of her living conditions had been on point.
The police report said the yard had tall, unkempt grass, and was littered in beer cans and trash, and the front porch was covered in fecal matter from the chickens, WISH reported.
When deputies went inside the home, they found an “abundance of animal feces, animal urine, rotting food, roaches, and other flying insects” inside the home.”
The sheriff’s press release described the children as having “deplorable living conditions.”
Deputies found the home had no water and a non-functioning toilet full to the brim.
The children told the authorities that their parents took them to Bull Creek Fish Camp once a week or so to bathe, according to the sheriff’s department.
There was nothing edible in the house, save for one frozen bag of chicken in the freezer.
“Some rooms were so littered with trash that deputies were unable to see the floor and their boots stuck to the filth-covered floors,” the press release said.
The Department of Children and Families was called to the scene and took custody of all five children, WISH reported.
Deputies arrested the parents, 33-year-old Dennis Allen and 42-year-old Betty Nicolicchia-Allen, and took them into custody, WISH reported.
Both were charged with five counts of child neglect and remained in jail held on a $5,000 bond each.
“This is a traumatic situation for all of the children involved,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Halloween is a day where kids should be out having fun, not contemplating ending their life. I want to commend the girl for calling the Abuse Hotline and being brave enough to ask for help.”
“These children were living in deplorable conditions,” Sheriff Staly continued. “I am thankful that these kids are now safe from these two individuals who obviously do not know how to properly care for children.”