CLERMONT, Fla. - (Warning: Some readers might find the following content disturbing)
A 30-year-old man was arrested after he left a child inside a Clermont home infested with maggots, flies, cockroaches, fleas and sickly cats, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said.
Mark Cameron was charged with child abuse and neglect. An anonymous tip led authorities to the home.
The child was left with Cameron’s bedridden stepfather, and there was no working bathtub or shower in the home, deputies said.
Animal control removed 15 living cats and one dead cat from the home, deputies said. There were several other cats in the home, but they were unreachable because they crawled into the walls, authorities said.
Deputies said the floor was covered in cat feces and maggots.
Cameron was barefoot in the home and had bugs crawling on him when deputies spoke with him, a news release said.
Deputies also said Cameron and the child slept on a dirty mattress covered in cat feces, urine and flea dust.
The child told investigators that he had been beaten for trying to clean up the house and that there were more dead cats in the drawers, the release said.
Cameron denied the claims when asked by Channel 9's Myrt Price on Tuesday.
"If they want to find out my side of the story, they can talk to me personally and not go through the media," Cameron said.
But a parent told Channel 9 that the boy would get picked on by other children due to the smell.
“He used to have bugs all over him and stuff. We had a little pool out here outside and we would try to put him in the pool and bathe him and we got him new clothes and stuff like that,” the parent said.
The release said neither the stove nor the refrigerator worked, and that “There was nowhere to look where there weren’t visible cockroaches moving.”
The release also said that the child’s school would give him clean clothes and an area to clean up every day because his stench was “odiferous.”
COVERAGE YOU CAN COUNT ON:
If you know a child or children that may need help, contact the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873, or report abuse, neglect or exploitation online by clicking or tapping here.
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