Woman Arrested On Child Neglect Charges

Hernando County deputies responded to the area of U.S. 19 in front of the Motel 6 Tuesday at 9 am. Police received a 9-1-1 call from a “concerned motorist” who saw five small children attempting to cross the highway to get to Weeki Wachee Springs. The motorist was able to stop the children before they entered traffic.

The children were too young to give their names and/or who their parents were. All of the children were wearing only diapers, which were heavily soiled, police say.

The youngest child, a female, had a severe rash on various parts of her body. Fire/Rescue was called to the scene to examine the child. Paramedics say the rash appeared to be several weeks old.

After being on scene for over 30 minutes, deputies were approached by 24-year-old Samantha McCarthy. McCarthy went to the lobby of the Motel 6 because the children she was caring for were missing. McCarthy told deputies that she had been sleeping and did not realize the children had left the room. She said the door was locked and had no idea how they could have gotten out.

Deputies learned the ages of the children ranged from one to five years old.

After being asked about the rash/infection on the youngest child, McCarthy said that it had been there for two to three days and had not been treated but planned to seek treatment later that day. Deputies confirmed that McCarthy had no mode of transportation and had made no appointment to have the child seen by a physician.

Deputies contacted the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and requested a response.

DCF conducted a check of the motel room and found there to be no food for the children and only minimal clothing.

Due to the severity of the skin infection/rash, the one-year old was transported to a local hospital for immediate treatment.

DCF took custody of the children and McCarthy was placed under arrest. She was charged with Child Neglect and her bond was set at $5,000.