VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Three people are accused of refusing to allow the Department of Children and Families check on the well-being of a child in Volusia County.
The investigation began after DCF received reports of child neglect involving Ann Osteen's 8-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter.
Osteen's friend, Jamie, told Channel 9 that the mother and children recently showed up to her South Daytona home. Osteen told her that she had fled an abusive relationship, but there were obvious red flags.
"When she got here I found out the children were the victims," said Jamie, who didn't want her last name used.
The children reportedly appeared to be malnourished while Osteen was allegedly abusing drugs.
"I also found pills in the baby's diaper bag," Jamie said.
Investigators said that Osteen suddenly left the South Daytona home with just her son, leaving the toddler behind.
Authorities tracked the mother to a different home in Volusia County. During two well-being checks at that home, resident Jameel Macool and Ryan Faulkner refused to cooperate, according to authorities.
Deputies returned for a third time with a court order, and Osteen, Faulkner and Macool were arrested. Osteen and Faulkner were charged with concealing a child contrary to a court order.
DCF officials said the agency stepped in because it was clear that the children were in danger. Both children are now safe and the 8-year-old will undergo a medical evaluation, officials said.
DCF released a statement to WFTV about the case:
"We were very concerned about the childrens' safety, based on the allegations and the fact that our attempts to see the children had been blocked. As a result, our Child Protective Investigator made additional efforts to help ensure the children could be safe. We got law enforcement involved and we reached out to the court system. When it became clear that the children were in danger due to neglect and abuse, we took them into protective custody."