Police: Children living in home filled with feces, no food or water

Ashley and Richard Barnett (Winter Haven Police)

WINTER HAVEN, FL (WFLA) — A Polk County couple has been arrested on drug and child neglect charges after police found two children living in deplorable conditions inside the home.

Winter Haven Police say they responded to the home of Ashley and Richard Barnett on Sunday after receiving a tip of possible narcotics use and child neglect. Upon arrival, police say they found 26-year-old Ashley Barnett in the home with a two and four-year-old living in horrific conditions.

The home, which did not have running water, had a strong odor of rotten food and feces.

Police say the mattresses were completely covered in brown stains without any sheets. Trash littered the floors and bags of garbage were piled throughout the residence along with rotting food shoved into the corners. Police say there was hardly any edible food in the home.

Brown smudges on the walls were determined to be feces smeared throughout the residence, police say. The bathroom toilet was full of feces and the bathtub held about two inches of water with dead and live roaches floating in the water.

As officers walked the home, they say they discovered several baggies with white residue identified as methamphetamine, glass pipes and a small butane torch were found on a bed. Additional drugs and paraphernalia were located inside of the laundry room.

Barnett was placed under arrest and when asked about her husband who also lives there, she stated he was out retrieving water, but had been gone for three hours. He was eventually located at another residence and placed under arrest.

The children are being cared for by a family member.

Ashley and Richard Barnett were both charged with negligent child abuse without bodily harm, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. They were both booked into the Polk County Jail.

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