A Florida elementary school teacher is currently facing multiple charges after allegedly leaving her 4-year-old son home alone while she went out to buy marijuana.
The suspect, identified as Marsha Dolce, was arrested Saturday after authorities received a report about a toddler wandering in the street, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
In a statement released by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, it has been revealed that the young boy was wearing only a T-shirt and underwear outside their Davenport home. It was also noted that the child was crying and asking for help from neighbors around 6:49 a.m.
Dolce, a fourth-grade teacher at Lauren Elementary School in Poinciana, eventually returned to her house around 7:51 a.m. Authorities then started questioning her as to why she left the young boy home alone.
The 26-year-old mother told deputies that she had to leave the house unexpectedly to help a friend with car troubles.
But after conducting a search of her home, investigators found marijuana in a “grinding device” on the kitchen counter. They also discovered a series of text messages from Dolce’s phone received around 2:32 a.m.
Apparently, one of the messages indicated an address in Winter Haven, followed by a message sent from her phone around 3:21 a.m. saying, “I’m here.”
The child was found wandering around outside, crying and asking for help while wearing only a T-shirt and underwear.https://t.co/mQ4mJ62hoV
— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) March 20, 2018
When confronted with the evidence, the suspect admitted to making up the story about her friend’s broken car and confirmed that she went out of the house to get marijuana, ABC Action News reported.
Dolce added that her son was already asleep at that time, so she assumed that she could go out and quickly pick up the drug. Her friend, identified as Dre, reportedly returned to her home briefly, had consensual sex, then later took a drive back to Winter Haven.
The young boy, who was not identified, was later taken from the suspect’s custody and is now under the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Dolce is now facing multiple charges, including negligent child abuse without great bodily harm, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. She had no prior criminal history.
Meanwhile, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd expressed his disappointment about Dolce’s action. In a statement, he reiterated that the suspect failed to fulfill her duties not only as a mother but as a teacher as well.
“This is not what we expect from a person in a position of public trust,” he added. “To think about this poor scared child crying in the street, not knowing where mom was – it is just a shame and should not have happened.”
The suspect has been fired from her job as a teacher.