Florida Couple Arrested as Children Found in ‘Deplorable’ Conditions: Affidavit

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Tawnya white, who worked at the Florida Department of Children and Families was arrested and accused of negligent child abuse along with her husband

According to an affidavit by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, a Florida couple was arrested after it was discovered that two young children lived in “deplorable conditions”.

According to an arrest affidavit of the PCSO obtained by Daily Ridge, Tawnya, and Devin White have been charged with negligence and child abuse. This follows a deputy’s investigation of a possible report of child neglect due to environmental hazards in a home located in Alturas.

According to the affidavit, Tawnya was still employed by the DCF at the time she was arrested, but her employment was terminated after the investigation. After a report on the conditions of the house, the DCF had attempted to enter the home for the past 21 days.

The children who lived at the residence were aged 7 months and 7 years. Five dogs were on the property. Four of them were inside.

Devin and Tawnya were arrested on Friday, February 9, after the authorities discovered their home as an environmental hazard.

The affidavit stated that when deputies arrived on the scene they found “overgrown grass” and “junk/debris scattered around the property”.

The document stated that “the interior of the house was deplorable” – including moldy furniture and stagnant water. It also included junk debris and piles of dog feces.

Tawnya was interviewed by a deputy in front of her home. In the affidavit, she stated that her husband Devin had been involved in a previous car accident, which limited his mobility and ability to assist her in maintaining the home. She claimed to have a full-time position with DCF, and that she was trying to keep the house clean but struggling alone.

Tawnya told the deputy that the 7-month-old baby would not leave his bedroom unless it was carried outside.

In an interview with Devin inside the house, the deputy claimed responsibility for the “conditions” of the home because he was not able or willing to offer any help in cleaning. The affidavit also showed that he claimed the children do not play in the house and are “confined” to the master’s bedroom.

White’s house from the outside. According to the affidavit, the exterior of the home was “overgrown with grass and debris/junk scattered around the property.”

The deputies noted that the baby appears “delayed” in his development because he is confined to a bassinet for the entire day, as the house would not be safe to leave him unconfined. The baby also has not begun crawling.

Tawnya gave her consent to take photos inside and outside of the house to document its condition. Interior photos showed knives, trash, and other items scattered on the floor. Dog feces were in different stages of decay and the smell of urine permeated the entire home.

According to the affidavit, there were also plywood floors exposed in several areas of the house with visible stains caused by old and new animal urine and feces. Items were blocking the kitchen counters, sink, and stove. No areas were observed for food preparation or consumption.

According to the affidavit, the inside of the house showed “a lack of food, nutrition, and clothing for the children, as well as supervision, which a prudent person might consider essential.”

Polk County Fire Rescue responded to the house and conducted an air-quality test. The Ammonia levels were 20 parts per million even though the front door had been left open for over an hour before the test was conducted.

The affidavit stated that Tawnya, Devin, and their family members were “uncooperative” in allowing anyone to enter the residence. This is what led police to gain access via a court warrant obtained by DCF.

The couple had also been given 19 days to clean up the house after they were contacted by DCF. However, the conditions of the home remained “unhealthy” and “unsafe” for the kids.

The affidavit stated that “the conditions inside the home show a lack of food, nutrition, and clothing for the children, as well as supervision, which a prudent person will consider essential to their wellbeing.”

Tawnya was arrested “without incident” and Devin was taken into custody.