Florida

Mom found the vodka. The Donald MacDonald park ranger found her shoeless toddlers.

Janeen Robbins
Janeen Robbins

A New Mexico woman was arrested on child neglect charges in Florida after a park ranger found her 2- and 3-year-old boys wandering near a busy street without shoes in 50-degree weather.

That’s according to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, whose deputy arrested Janeen Robbins, 26, on Jan. 6 after a search-and-rescue at the Donald MacDonald Park campground. Robbins, of Grants, New Mexico, remains in jail with a $1,500 bond.

Park Ranger Ron Hampton said he found the two toddlers around 1 p.m. wandering Roseland Road, the street on which the park entrance sits. The street is described as “a very busy road” in the arrest report. After driving around the park in a failed search for parents, and several campers telling Hampton they’d seen the kids on their own since 10 a.m., the park ranger called the sheriff’s office.

Deputy Denton Kitchell quickly noted the 50-degree temperature, the kids’ cleanliness factor (“filthy”), the kids’ attire (adult clothes that hung loosely) and the kids’ shoes (none). Another deputy noted that one of the kids had a “raised rub rash” on his tushie from too much time in a wet diaper. According to Emergency Medical Services, glass powder was found on the boys’ hands from a cracked windshield on which they’d climbed.

One of the kids told Kitchell that their mother was in the tent. Upon finding that tent in what Kitchell described as a trash-strewn campsite, he said he saw a sleeping Robbins inside. He yelled through a window at Robbins.

She didn’t move. So, he kicked the tent.

She still didn’t move, so Kitchell entered the tent and saw a 1.75-ml bottle of vodka down to its last shots. He yelled again.

Still, no go. Kitchell wrote that he shook Robbins’ ankle for 30 seconds before she awoke. Asked whether she knew where her children were, Robbins answered with alcohol-scented breath that they were right outside, according to the arrest report.

After being informed they weren’t right outside, Kitchell wrote, Robbins became “frantic” and began to pace outside the tent despite difficulty standing and speaking. She broke down in tears while admitting she drank a lot of the vodka in the tent.

She said her boyfriend, Steve, was at work. Another camper told deputies he’d seen the boys left to fend for themselves from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Department of Children and Families took the boys. Sheriff’s deputies took Robbins.

The Florida Highway Patrol released dash-cam video of a traffic stop that led to an arrest of a mother who now faces charges of DUI and child neglect.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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