Shauna Lee Bennett is a 42-year-old mom of a 3-year-old girl in Lubbock, Texas. But the mom finds herself facing charges this week after police were called to the apartment complex where she raises the toddler as a single mother and found the toddler wandering alone, unsupervised, around the property — and appearing to be in a dangerously unhealthy condition, according a police report revealed by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal newspaper.
The toddler was spotted by the property manager of the Corte Vista Apartments on Waco Avenue in Lubbock, who then called the police. What the responding officers saw when they showed up to investigate the report shocked even the seasoned cops.
The child was barefoot and covered in red bumps that appeared to be bug bites, symptoms that would soon be explained when police went inside the apartment where the child lived with Shauna Lee Bennett.
Further details on the upsetting case are contained in the local news report seen in the video below.
The officer who filed the police report, as quoted by the Everything Lubbock local news site, said he believed he had sufficient legal reason to enter the apartment after taking a look at the little girl.
“I had probable cause to believe that [the child] had not been fed, washed, or provided with any type of general medical care or treatment for an unsafe amount of time,” the police report stated.
Even more disturbing, as the officers waited for Child Protective Services agents to arrive to take the child into their temporary custody, the little girl not only complained repeatedly about feeling hungry, but at one point told the officers, “I need a beer.”
So the officers went inside the apartment where the little girl resided with her mom, and what they found in there was shocking — and repulsive.
COCKROACHES! Lubbock Police Discover 3-Year-Old Child Alone at Cockroach-Infested Apartment, Arrest Her Mother… https://t.co/ebBjSGdhY3
— Pest Control News (@pestnewser) March 1, 2016
“As soon as I entered I was overwhelmed by the filthy state of the apartment,” the officer filing the report wrote.
“There were piles of dirty and moldy dishes on the counter, stove, and sink. There was trash on the floor and counter. There were cockroaches absolutely everywhere. The kitchen was in no way sanitary or functional.”
The officer said that he located what appeared to be the little girl’s only pair of shoes, but they were coated with cobwebs, as if they had not actually been worn in a lengthy period of time.
Finally, the investigating Lubbock Police officers found the mom, Shauna Lee Bennett, asleep in a rear bedroom of the apartment on the upper tier of a dual bunk bed.
Despite what the police found, Bennett’s neighbors defended her when interviewed by local media outlets. One neighbor, Keith Graves — who said that he sometimes served as a babysitter for the child — called Bennett a “good person” and called her arrest the result of a “misunderstanding,” saying that it was not unexpected for the 3-year-old to get out of the apartment.
“[The little girl] is very rambunctious and has a lot of energy and she knows how to get out of the apartment — so she got out of the apartment and did what a three year old does, play around,” he told KJTV in Lubbock.
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Another neighbor, Lois Griffith, told KAMC-TV that she felt sympathy with Bennett, who may have been overwhelmed by the difficulties of raising a child as a single mom.
“Being a mother can be hard. And it can be overwhelming,” Griffith said. “Sometimes you need help and you just don’t know where to go. I don’t know what the answer is.”
Lubbock Police Lieutenant Ray Mendoza, however, called the incident “a clear case of neglect on the mother’s part.”
Shauna Lee Bennett was held Monday in Lubbock County Detention Center on a $15,000 bond. She now faces charges of child abandonment and endangerment.
[Image via Lubbock County Detention Center]