Deputies stumble upon 4 unattended toddlers

By Mary Alys Cherry

While patrolling around Clear Lake about 11:30 p.m. Monday, July 27, on the lookout for drug activity, deputies from Constable Phil Sandlin’s Office, noticed a woman, later identified as Brittany Shay Florence, 26, walk out of her house in the 1100 block of Seafoam and out of the area.

About 20 minutes later while passing through the area again, deputies noticed the front door to the same residence was standing open and two small children were outside unattended, roaming around in the front yard. On stopping to check on the toddlers, deputies noticed that one child had a medical inhaler in his mouth and was attempting to use it.

On entering the home, looking for their parents, deputies found two more children lying asleep on the floor in the living room. While the officers looked all over for an adult for about 15 minutes, Ms. Florence finally returned, telling deputies she had gone to a friend’s house to get a cigarette and had left the children with a neighbor, claiming that she was only gone “for a minute or two.”

Deputies thought otherwise as they had witnessed the children being unattended for more than 30 minutes, they reported. And, when they checked with the neighbor, she denied being asked to watch the children – all four between the ages of 1 and 4 — and said she barely knew Florence.

While looking around, deputies said they found a gray sharp object lying within reach of the children that appeared to be a razor blade, along with easily accessible kitchen knives and medications throughout the residence, adding that the home had no lighting and they had to use flashlights to move around. They described the house as being filthy, with the strong smell of urine, and unsafe for children.

They said they found old food on the floor and in the sink, and clothes and trash scattered throughout the house. There was little furniture inside the house other than a small table, an air mattress and large TV sets in each room.

Florence was arrested and charged with Felony Child Endangerment and was booked into Harris County Jail, where she is being held with a $2,000 bond. The four children were released to a family member and the case in being further investigated by Children’s Protective Services.

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