Florida mother, Jessica Stevenson charged with child abuse after house found to be infested with roaches and in inhospitable living conditions.
A Florida mother was arrested last week after ‘hundreds of bugs’ crawled out of her daughter’s backpack inside her elementary school’s lunchroom.
Jessica Stevenson, 33, was taken into custody after an employee from Bagdad Elementary School reported the second-grade girl and her two siblings living in poor conditions.
Stevenson, of Milton, was charged with five counts of child abuse.
The girl is one of five siblings between the ages of 5 to 14 living in Stevenson’s ‘filthy’ home, according to a report from the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the Pensacola News Journal, the incident occurred after the employee reported that the girl and her three siblings had poor hygiene to the Florida Department of Children and Families.
The worker told authorities that the second-grader’s body odor was hard to ignore and that the child had been wearing the same clothes for an entire week in April.
Police said the employee also told them that at one point ‘hundreds of bugs crawled out’ of the student’s ‘backpack in the lunchroom’.
Another teacher told authorities that the student was ‘having meltdowns’ and seemed depressed.
Jessica Stevenson Florida mom: ‘I’m not a bad mom, I do everything I can. I work hard.’
This incident prompted police to visit the child’s home, which they found to be infested with roaches.
‘The roaches were on nearly every surface in the home,’ police said in the report.
Authorities said the bugs were ‘on the children’s mattresses, in the pots and pans in the kitchen, and inside the cabinets/fridge’.
According to police, there were soiled mattresses on the floor, piles of cat feces, no edible food, broken windows and trash strewn throughout the home.
There was nothing but spoiled food in the home, including milk and eggs.
But police did note that the Stevenson’s bedroom was the only clean area of the home.
Stevenson doesn’t believe she did anything wrong.
She told WEAR-TV: ‘I’m not a bad mom, I do everything I can. I work hard.’
Stevenson said she is a single mother with low-income and costs associated with the charges against her are making things harder for her.
Following the charges, Stevenson was given a no contact order for her children.
Her bond was set at $12,500. She made bond the day after her arrest and was released from custody.
She faces a maximum of 25 years in prison if found guilty on all five counts.