The parents of a small child have been arrested after two drivers found a boy wandering onto onto a busy Florida highway by himself. The toddler was covered in mosquito bites and wearing only a heavily soiled diaper, according to Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
A woman identified as Erica Strozier by Fox35 said she stopped her car and intercepted the child to protect him from oncoming vehicles.
“I saw a little toddler, no more than 18-24 months, walking into U.S. 1. I instantly turned around and called 911,” Strozier told the broadcaster. A mail carrier also stopped to help and was holding the 2-year-old when deputies arrived at the scene.
Officers found Yajaira Tirado, 28, and Jacob Krueger, 25, in a nearby mobile home in a drug-induced coma, frothing at the mouth and unresponsive until the deputy yelled and banged loudly on the wall, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release.
They were arrested on child neglect charges on June 24.
“When he went into the trailer he said there was feces, food and the parents foaming all at the mouth,” Strozier told Fox35. “When they walked out the door they weren’t even concerned about the baby, they could barely stand.”
— outsidetheknow (@outsidetheknow) June 25, 2019
Deputies had to put the toddler in the patrol vehicle during the investigation because there were broken beer bottles on the ground and knives within the child’s reach, the sheriff’s department said in the press release.
Inside the home, deputies discovered further unsanitary and unsafe conditions: trash, dirty clothes and dishes, one mattress with no sheets. When deputies questioned the mother whether the child had had breakfast, Tirado said her son “usually pulls like bread and stuff out by himself,” according to the release.
Body camera video in yesterday’s child neglect incident. Thank you to the two kind women who stopped to help this child! https://t.co/0LRSnhFsdT
— Volusia Co. Sheriff (@VolusiaSheriff) June 25, 2019
Strozier, who is a grandmother, said she was sad when she learned of the state the parents were found in and the deplorable conditions the child was living under.
“I don’t know what kind of drugs they were on, but it was sickening,” Strozier told Fox35.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, the officer recognized the child and knew who the parents were because of a previous incident in 2018 involving Tirado.
Motorist, mail carrier stop to help toddler wandering on U.S. 1; 2 charged with child neglect. And it’s not the first time for one of these defendants. https://t.co/5JEPeIZZYg
— Volusia Co. Sheriff (@VolusiaSheriff) June 24, 2019
She was previously charged with child neglect in January 2018 after deputies responded to a 911 call made by a young child at the residence and found two children inside by themselves along with a loose, aggressive dog and an “unsecured shotgun and ammunition.”
Tirado and Kreuger are being held in the Volusia County Branch Jail and face charges that each carry a $5,000 bond. The toddler was placed under the care of the State Department of Children and Families.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Department posted the body camera video of the incident on social media, after the department said it received many requests from the public to release it.
On Facebook, people took to the comments to thank the two women who helped the child and the responding deputies.
“Thank you to the two women who stopped to save that little boy, and most thanks goes to the deputy who showed kindness and love to that poor little boy who obviously is being horribly neglected at home by his own parents! Great job to the deputies who responded! You truly were the advocate for the child’s safety,” one woman wrote in the comments section of Facebook post.