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Children Removed From Alturas Home, Parents Arrested

"Deplorable" Conditions Cited by Investigators

Polk County Sheriff's deputies have arrested a couple and removed a 7-month-old baby and a 7-year-old child who lived in the home in Alturas.

Deputies had responded to a call from the Department of Children and Families to the home, located in the 8000 block of Alturas Babson Park Cutoff Road, to find "a total disaster," according to Polk Sheriff Grady Judd.

Courtesy Polk County Sheriff's Office

The children were living with their parents, Tawnya White, 43, and her husband, 39-year-old Devin White, in deplorable conditions, according to the report from the Sheriff's Office.

The report said that there were four dogs living inside the house, which also contained animal feces and a very strong smell of ammonia, associated with urine. In addition, there was trash "moldy furniture," and knives scattered on the floor of the home.

Tawnya White reportedly told deputies that she had worked for the Department of Children and Families for about 13 years but had struggled to maintain the home and care for her husband, who had been injured in a traffic accident. She was fired after her arrest.

Courtesy Polk County Sheriff's Office

Feces, clutter, and knives on the floor were among the hazards within the home, investigators reported.

The report stated that the infant had been confined to a small bed and, as a result, had not yet learned to crawl. The children were placed in the custody of the DCF.

Investigators reported that sinks and counters were covered with clutter and the stove was inaccessible so there was no space where food could be prepared and nowhere to sit to eat.

"She went to work every day and gave advice of how to clean up houses, how to take care of children, how to avoid the same circumstance that she was living in at home." According to Judd. "That was her job, so she knew better."

Courtesy Polk County Sheriff's Office

Conditions outside the Alturas home were little better than the interior, according to investigators/.

The incident was the third in the area in recent months that involved neglect or abuse in poor conditions.


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