Deputies: Grandmother left grandchildren alone in roach-infested, filthy home



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An Orange County grandmother faces child neglect charges for allegedly leaving her young grandchildren alone in a filthy house.

Orange County Sheriff's deputies said they found two children, ages three and four, partially clothed, dirty, and alone without food in an apartment full of roaches.

Their grandmother, Elba Echevarria, was arrested on child neglect charges after the Department of Children and Families received a complaint.

Echevarria was supposed to be watching the children for her son, but investigators said she wasn't home when they arrived Monday.

"I'm surprised. She seems like a really nice person," said neighbor Tom Downey.

WFTV found out Echevarria, as well as her son and the children's mother, have been investigated by DCF in the past for similar situations.

The children's father, Carlos Arce, was arrested in September, accused of beating up his girlfriend.

Despite their history with DCF, the children haven't been removed from the family.

WFTV reporter Kenneth Craig questioned DCF about the family.

"If you've got a grandmother who has a history, a father who has history and a mother who has history, why are those children tonight back with their mother again?" Craig asked.

"We think that's actually common, unfortunately," replied DCF spokeswoman Carrie Hoepper.

The children's mother has full custody. DCF officials said because she wasn't involved this time, and past complaints against her aren't severe enough to remove the children, they had no choice.

"Now if we had concerns about her judgment and her actions and inability to protect her children -- at that point you would see social services step in," Hoepper said.

Echevarria bonded out of jail.

WFTV went to her home to try to talk to her, but she wasn't there.