Jessica Nicole Stevenson of Milton, Florida, is facing charges of neglect after her daughter’s school backpack raised alarms. Stevenson’s second-grade daughter and her siblings were reportedly found living in filthy conditions after a school social worker contacted authorities regarding her concerns.
CNN shares that Stevenson, 33, is facing multiple felony neglect charges. Though there were numerous issues that an elementary school social worker raised, one of the most cringe-worthy was that the backpack of Stevenson’s daughter apparently had bugs crawling out of it while the girl was at school.
Stevenson was arrested on May 3, two weeks after the social worker contacted a sheriff’s deputy. The report of the investigation notes that the second-grade girl told authorities that she didn’t know when she had last had a bath or a shower, and her clothing was caked with dirt. In addition, one of the pieces of clothing the girl was wearing allegedly was caked with urine and fecal matter.
As for the backpack issue, that seemingly happened a while back. The girl had the backpack in the lunchroom at some point and hundreds of bugs were found crawling out of it. The social worker said that the home of the family was infested with cockroaches.
— ABC News (@ABC) May 10, 2019
The school had given the girl multiple sets of new clothes, but she ultimately would wear the same outfit to school for a week or so at a time. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Stevenson’s five children range in age from 5 to 14. Three of the children attended Bagdad Elementary School.
Once investigators went to Stevenson’s home in Milton, they found numerous areas of concern. In addition to the roaches, there were soiled mattresses on the floor, broken windows, bags of trash inside and outside, no edible food, and piles of cat feces throughout the home.
As deputies searched the home, they found that the woman’s own bedroom was “abnormally” clean in comparison to the rest of the family’s home. She had clean clothes in her closet, along with a flat-screen television and fresh bed linens, while the children lived in filth.
The social worker says that she had made a report about the family at the beginning of the school year as well. At that time, the Department of Children and Families visited Stevenson’s home and determined that the conditions at the home did not meet their requirements for removal.
The Milton woman says that she has not abused or neglected her children. She says she has little income and is single, and she is trying to do better.
At this point, Stevenson is facing five felony counts of child neglect without great bodily harm. She made bond and was released the day after her arrest. A spokesman for the Department of Children and Families would not comment on where the children currently are.