Father forced to pay child support after mother charged with neglect

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A father in Polk County says he is being forced to pay child support to the mother of his child, despite her arrest for allegedly overdosing on cocaine while she was pregnant and in the car with her two children.

Last week, the Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested a 36-year-old Marsha Forrester. She was allegedly unconscious, in a hot car, with the two children, both under 5 years old.

She was taken to the hospital where she underwent an emergency C-section to deliver her baby.

The Department of Children and Families brought one of the children, 2-year-old Mykel, to his father hours after Forrester was taken to the hospital.

Mykel's father, Zanterria Walker, is grateful his son is alive and safe, but he is frustrated about sending $1,000 a month to the mother who faces felony neglect charges for that same child.

"The very day that it happened, they brought me my son. The very day," Walker said.

Walker has been with Mykel every day since. Forrester has bonded out of jail and still has primary custody of Mykel and her other children, but the children have been placed in "temporary shelter" through DCF.

For Mykel, his father is that temporary shelter. But his father said it's difficult to make ends meet with the state taking $217 a week for child support.

Walker says he is not asking for drastic changes at this point. He just wants the court to temporarily modify his child support payments while Mykel is in his care. He filed a request with the court but the matter has not been taken up.

"If I've got a mother that's not doing what she's supposed to be doing, and it seems like the state isn't doing anything to help me, I find that to be troubling," Walker said. "I didn't ask them to take me off child support, I just asked them to try and suspend it until everything is taken care of, as far as Marsha is concerned."

Forrester faces two felony charges of child neglect. Investigators say she admitted to using cocaine after she picked up her children the afternoon of July 11.

A passerby alerted emergency officials to a woman in a car with two kids. The first responder said Forrester was slumped over the wheel and the two children were inside, crying and sweating.

The sheriff's office said the children in the car were uninjured. Her newborn child remains in critical condition.