ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. - An Altamonte Springs woman was arrested after police said they discovered her three young children had been left home alone in deplorable and unsafe conditions.
Police were called to Tierra Ellerbe’s apartment Friday after a concerned resident said water was leaking into his apartment from an upstairs unit.
When the officer checked on the home, there were three young children home alone inside, according to a report. C
A man next door told the officer he believed the children had been home alone for 30 minutes and that the house was a “disaster.”
A 6-year-old girl told the officer she was babysitting her 3-year-old sister and 1-year-old brother, police said.
She told the officer her brother was out of diapers and she had put him in the bathtub to clean him up but the tub overflowed and flooded the bathroom before she could turn off the water.
In the report, the officer noted moldy food and shards of glass on the floor from a broken coffee table.
He said he found the 1-year-old asleep in a room with a chicken nugget in his mouth.
The officer removed the food from the child’s mouth so the child wouldn’t choke, police said.
The report said the bathroom sink was overflowing and the water couldn’t be turned off so the officer called emergency maintenance.
Department of Children and Families caseworkers were called to the home to remove the children.
While there, an investigator found an ecstasy pill on the dresser and a razor within the children’s reach, according to the police report.
Angel Bas, who lives in an apartment beneath Ellerbe, said no one answered the door when his father knocked on it, but he could hear children running around.
"He decided to call the police to see if something went wrong or what was happening," Bas said. "They are kids. They are not capable of taking care of themselves."
DCF investigators could not find clean clothes for the children while they were removed from the home, police said. Officials said the children are being cared for, but they didn't say who is caring for them.
Police said Ellerbe returned home at about 2 a.m. from the Sonic Drive-In where she works.
Bas said Ellerbe moved into the apartment a month or two ago.
She was arrested and is facing multiple child neglect charges.
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