Police: Feces, rotting food found in home with 5 children

Kimberly Kuizon reports

- It's easy to overlook the clutter of toys in front of a home on 18th Street in Sarasota, but inside the scene of dirty clothes, rotting food, bottles filled with urine and human feces on the floor are shocking to neighbors.

After finding drug paraphernalia, trash, and even human waste filling the home, police arrested the couple who was living there and took five children into DCF custody.

Officers say they received a call for a welfare check at a home on 18th Street on Monday. When they got there, they found the kids -- ranging in age from 17 years to only 11 months -- living in a squalid state, surrounded by waste of all kinds.

"I have never seen anything, really, in person, like that," said neighbor Jerry Haddock.

Inside, the home is a mess, and neighbors said they had no idea what those walls held. Police say they found animal and human feces on the floor and multiple prescription pill containers left open "within reach of the children."  

"It is terrible. I wouldn't believe it," said Haddock.

Inside one of the bedrooms, officers found a crack cocaine pipe left out near more empty pill bottles.

Now, the adults living in the home are in jail. Officers with the Sarasota Police Department arrested Amanda Dean and Joseph Dromeshauser, III for child neglect. 

Dromeshauser told officers that the home had no running water and the family commuted to a family member's home once a week to shower the children and wash clothes. The kids, meanwhile, where taken into DCF care.

Investigators said Dromeshauser told them he fed his children with expired food from his job at 711 and took them to a relative's home once a week for showers. The parents aren't accused of physically harming their children, but such extreme neglect is a crime. Police said if they were in over their heads, they should've sought help.

"The conditions in this home were the worst I've ever seen," said Detective Megan Buck of the SPD Criminal Investigations Division.  "No child or adult should have to live in conditions like this.  Someone knew something wasn't right with this family and called law enforcement.  I'm thankful they did."

In Sarasota County there are many resources that can help families in extreme need. The county's human services manager, Wayne Applebee suggests people contact 211. The resource could have maybe kept this family together.

"We really want people to know 211 is the place to start for help," said Wayne Applebee. "They look at the resource guide and then they make direct referrals to the person who made the call to the agencies."

Now the focus is on helping the children.

"Emotionally, we are going to make sure that they get the help that they need to get back on their feet," Sarasota PD's Genevieve Judge explained.

Dromeshauser, 34, was arrested on five counts of child neglect without great bodily harm, along with possession of drug paraphernalia.  Amanda Dean, 34, was also charged with child neglect after officers say they found her hiding from them in a closet.

Dromehauser has since bonded out of the Sarasota County jail. Dean remains behind bars.

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