Florida mother arrested after hundreds of roaches crawl out of child's backpack
A Florida mother has been charged with child abuse after school staff allegedly saw hundreds of roaches crawl out of her child's backpack, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
Jessica Stevenson, 33, was arrested last month after a Bagdad Elementary School staff employee filed a Florida Department of Children and Families report on behalf of Stevenson's three children who attended the school.
The staff member said that one of the children, a second-grade student, often wore the same clothing throughout the week and smelled. When the employee asked the child when their last bath had been, the student reportedly could not answer.
The staff member added that she gave the child new clothes and took the old ones, which were "severely soiled." The child, however, purportedly wore the new outfit repeatedly until the school gave the student a brand new set of clothes. The employee also said she once saw "hundreds of bugs" crawl out of the student's backpack in the school cafeteria.
The report prompted deputies to visit Stevenson's residence in April. There, they found roaches "on nearly every surface in the home," including "on the children's mattress, in the pots and pans in the kitchen, and inside the cabinets/fridge," their report notes.
A microwave was also found dangling out of a window and a refrigerator supposedly contained just cartons of spoiled milk, expired eggs, some sugar and a stick of butter. The only room that appeared to be clean was allegedly Stevenson's, police said.
Stevenson, who has five children between the ages of 5 and 14, was previously arrested for child neglect in 2016, the Navarre Press reports.
"It's just not easy when you're one person and five kids," the mother told WFOR recently. "I want to do better, and I'm trying."
Stevenson was released on $12,500 bail but faces up to 25 years in jail if convicted.