Couple charged in ‘worst’ child neglect case ever seen

The state of the Sarasota home that led to the arrests of Amanda Dean and Joseph Dromeshauser.
The state of the Sarasota home that led to the arrests of Amanda Dean and Joseph Dromeshauser.

Broken glass was strewn across the house. A crack pipe sat next to empty pill bottles. The smell of rotten food and urine permeated throughout.

Once a week, the five children under 18 and their parents would go to a family member’s house to shower and wash clothes, as their own house didn’t have running water.

“The conditions in this home were the worst I’ve ever seen,” said Sarasota Police detective Megan Buck in a press release.

The Sarasota Police Department arrested a Sarasota couple and charged them each with five counts of child neglect without great bodily harm, according to the department.

On Monday, officers went to the home of Amanda L. Dean and Joseph P. Dromeshauser, III, both 34, in the 1300 block of 18th Street for a welfare check after a school resource officer contacted the police department, according to a probable cause affidavit.

According to the report, while officers did a walk-through of the house, they saw human waste on the floor, dirty dishes covering the kitchen counters and insects everywhere. The children — ages 17, 12, 10, 2 and 11 months — were taken out of the home and it was deemed unsuitable to live in.

While Dromeshauser told officers Dean was out shopping with a friend, they found her hiding in a bedroom closet, saying she was afraid to go to jail, according to the affidavit.

Dromeshauser also told police that the water was shut off after not paying the bill the previous month and, according to the affidavit, he would bring home food for his family from his job at 7-Eleven after it would expire.

The Department of Children and Families abuse hotline was called to conduct an investigation.

Dromeshauser was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

“Someone knew something wasn’t right with this family and called law enforcement,” Buck said in a press release. “I’m thankful they did.”