Living conditions were so “deplorable,” an east coast Florida sheriff said, one of the children was suffering from multiple insect bites and bone fractures.
The home, in Flagler County’s Palm Coast, was in such disrepair that one of the suspects refrained from telling her landlord that the air conditioning was not working because she didn’t want the landlord to realize what was going on inside, deputies from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said.
On Friday, the sheriff’s office arrested Lynn Marie Kulka, 52, Michael Alan Choate, 24, and Rene Elizabeth Marchetta, 26, and charged each of them with three counts of child neglect without great bodily harm.
Marchetta is the mother of three children — ages 4, 1, and 4 months old. Kulka is Marchetta’s mother, and Choate is believed to be the father to two of the children, Flagler Live.Com reports.
All three adults’ addresses on the individual arrest reports are for the same home on Brelyn Place.
The arrests followed a two-week investigation after the Florida Department of Children and Families tipped off the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office about the children’s welfare after the 4-month-old “was brought to Florida Flagler Hospital with multiple insect bites and bone fractures,” on July 3, deputies said in a release.
When officers entered the home, they saw an infestation of bugs “so severely that hundreds of cockroaches were seen crawling on the floors, walls, ceilings, and all the furniture including the children’s mattresses, playpens, and bassinet,” the sheriff’s office wrote on the report. All three children were covered in multiple bug bites, the sheriff added.
“This is a traumatic situation for all of the children involved,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in the release. “The children who were living in this house were subjected to deplorable living conditions.”
Staly said he was “thankful that the children are now safe from these three individuals who obviously don’t know how to be parents or properly care for children.”
The grandmother, Kulka, according to deputies, is the one who opted not to alert the property’s landlord about the air conditioning. She’s the only one of the three who posted her $15,000 bail and was released from Flagler County Detention Facility about 90 minutes after she was booked Friday night.
Choate and Marchetta remained at the facility on the same $15,000 bail amount — $5,000 per charge — on Saturday afternoon.
After arrest reports were issued, cops found Marchetta at an area restaurant. Kulka and Choate were arrested at the home, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
Additional charges could be pending as the investigation is ongoing, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said.