Merritt Island mom arrested after 1-year-old found covered in feces
www.floridatoday.com — A pest-control worker who entered a Merritt Island apartment Wednesday morning found a toddler home alone and her mom nowhere around.
Agents with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office later arrested 20-year-old Sarah Janice Connor as she hid at a Melbourne motel. She was charged with child neglect, a third-degree felony, and with resisting arrest after officials said she fought the jail deputies trying to book her.
“We have a child left home alone and unable to care for itself. That’s a unique situation,” said Lt. Alex Herrera, a sheriff’s office spokesman. “We’re trying to figure out what circumstances led to the mother not being there.”
At 10:20 a.m., a worker at the Tropical Manor Apartments at 1165 Jordan Road entered the apartment to spray for insects. In a bedroom, the man found the 1-year-old — her skin reddened and covered in feces.
It’s not known exactly how long the child was left unattended.
She otherwise was healthy, but she was taken to a hospital for further evaluation. The Florida Department of Children and Families took the child into custody.
On Facebook, Connor identifies her daughter as Nevaeh Marie Pitts, who turned 1 in May. Her child’s father, Robert Earl Pitts, is a 21-year-old felon who remained jailed Wednesday on an April parole violation.
Connor was arrested in May on a charge of driving under the influence. She has a misdemeanor arrest history, including a conviction for retail theft.
She was recently investigated by state child welfare officials in connection with issues relating to substance abuse.
Agents with the sheriff’s Special Victims Unit initially expressed concern Wednesday morning for the mother’s “well-being.” But a task force arrested Connor just after 8 p.m. at the River Palm Hotel in Melbourne, where tipsters said she was hiding.
“During the booking process, (she) became combative and had to receive additional restraints in order for deputies to gain control of her,” sheriff’s Maj. J.J. Woolsey said in a statement.
Connor was held in lieu of a $2,500 bond.