Breaking News
More () »

Florida mom charged after 'hundreds of bugs' crawl out of child's backpack

The woman was charged with child neglect after teachers and deputies say at least one of her children had been wearing filthy clothes for a week.
Credit: Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office

MILTON, Florida — A Florida woman was arrested last month in response to a teacher's report sent to the Department of Children and Families about a student who had been wearing the same clothes for a week.

A report from the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office said Jessica Stevenson, 33, was charged with five counts of child neglect without great bodily harm. A behavior coach's report about Stevenson's children's poor hygiene prompted the sheriff's office to investigate the children's home life.

Deputies said Stevenson has five children, three of whom attend Bagdad Elementary School in Milton. All five children are between the ages of 5 and 14.

The sheriff's office said the school's behavior coach made the report to DCF after she noticed one child was wearing extremely dirty clothes for a week and had a "noticeable body odor." The staff member also said the child didn't know the last time she had taken a bath or shower.

When the behavior coach got the child fresh clothing, she said the child's old clothing was caked with dirt and stains. The sheriff's office report said the child had been wearing bathing suit bottoms caked with feces and soaked in urine. 

The behavior coach also told deputies she had seen "hundreds of bugs" crawl out of the child's backpack in the lunchroom. The child reportedly told the behavior coach that the house they live in is infested with roaches.

Another teacher filed a DCF report earlier in the year about the three elementary school-aged children, deputies say. The teacher said they never heard a disposition.

That teacher told deputies she had met with Stevenson, who "immediately berated her after assuming it was her who called DCF," the report says.

The teacher said she knew one of the children had been given new clothing by the school multiple times. The teacher told deputies that child's "schoolwork is suffering greatly from her home life" and that she is constantly crying and "having meltdowns."

When deputies visited the children's home, the report says they found roaches on "nearly every surface in the home." Deputies say the cabinets were empty of food, there was a plugged in microwave dangling out of a window and the refrigerator only had rancid milk, spoiled eggs, a stick of butter and some sugar.

The report says Stevenson's bedroom, however, was cleaner than the rest of the home with "minimal roaches," a flat-screen TV, bags of snacks and a bed with linens.

Stevenson made bond a day after her arrested and was released May 4.

What other people are reading right now:

►Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the 10News app now.

Have a news tip? Email desk@wtsp.com, or visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.