Florida Couple Charged after Children Discovered in Squalor

(VitalNews.org) – A couple from Florida have been charged with child neglect after concerns were raised about their children. Christopher Rounds, 36, and Samantha Acker, 37 have both been charged with four counts each of the third-degree felony after authorities visited their home and found it unhygienic and infested with cockroaches.

Prior to the arrest, the house was inhabited by Acker, her four children, several animals including two large dogs, and Rounds, who is the father to two of the children and is currently engaged to Acker. All four children, aged 8, 10, 15, and 16 years respectively, have been removed from the house and placed into the car of temporary guardians.

The Volusia County Sherriff’s Office became involved after the 15-year-old girl, who is both deaf and mute, came to school in unwashed clothes and with cockroaches in her backpack. A tip-off was made to the Florida Abuse Hotline, which prompted the Florida Department of Children and Families to ask the police to investigate further. It was discovered that despite the 15-year-old girl being unable to hear or to speak, none of her family had learned sign language, meaning that her parents had no way to communicate effectively with her.

Acker and Rounds were reported by police to have become confrontational and quick to shift the blame when questioned about the state of their family home. According to the Sherriff’s Office, they in turn blamed the squalor on the children not helping around the house, and on not having much money. When officers visited the residence, they found animal feces in several areas; mold and insects in the refrigerator; filthy beds with unwashed plates and bits of food; and cockroaches in various parts of the house, including the children’s beds. The temperature in the house was approximately 85 degrees, but the couple did not have an air conditioner.

Acker has since been bonded out of jail, but the children remain in the care of temporary guardians.

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