Two parents in Florida were charged with multiple counts of child neglect after their 14-year-old daughter made a desperate call for help on Halloween due to her living conditions, according to officials.
The Flagler County Sheriffs Office said on Facebook they received information through an abuse hotline that the teenager was contemplating suicide due to her living conditions and alleged physical and emotional abuse by her mother.
This is a traumatic situation for all of the children involved, Sheriff Rick Staly said in a statement. Halloween is a day where kids should be out having fun, not contemplating ending their life.
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The 14-year-old, who said she was being homeschooled but not being taught anything, claimed she was being used as a full-time caregiver for her four younger siblings, three dogs, and a rabbit while her parents -- identified as 42-year-old Betty Nicolicchia-Allen and 33-year-old Dennis Allen -- work until the late hours of the night, police said.
When deputies went to the home in Bunnell, they discovered the home was in complete disarray.
The grass in the front yard was high enough to hide a small child and littered with gas cans, beer cans, rust covered metal materials, and other trash. The front porch of the home was covered in fecal matter from two chickens that freely roamed the property, police said.
When deputies spoke with the 14-year-old girl, she confirmed to them she called the abuse hotline and invited police inside, which revealed deplorable living conditions.
Every room of the home contained an abundance of animal feces, animal urine, rotting food, roaches, and other flying insects. There was no edible food in the refrigerator and there was one bag of frozen chicken in the freezer, police said. Some rooms were so littered with trash that deputies were unable to see the floor and their boots stuck to the filth-covered floors.
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The only bathroom in the home was found to only have a water hose being run through the window and into the shower due to the home having no running water, according to police.
The toilet appeared to have been used for days on end with no way to discard the waste in the bowl, the sheriffs office said.
When interviewed, the children -- ages 6, 8, 9, and 12 -- told deputies the last time they had been bathed ranged between 3 days to a week. The children also told deputies that when they did bathe they had to travel to Bull Creek Fish Camp since there was no running water inside the home, officials said.
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I want to commend the girl for calling the Abuse Hotline and being brave enough to ask for help. These children were living in deplorable conditions, Staly said. I am thankful that these kids are now safe from these two individuals who obviously do not know how to properly care for children.
Nicolicchia-Allen and Allen were arrested Friday afternoon and have each been charged with five counts of child neglect. The couple was transported to the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility, where they remain jailed on a ,000 bond each.
[Editors note: This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).]B: