Police: Florida toddler in diaper walks pit bull alone; mom charged with neglect

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — A Florida woman is accused of child neglect after her toddler was discovered in a soiled diaper walking the family’s pit bull by himself as it rained outside, authorities said.

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Mary Jane Wright, 37, of Cape Coral, was arrested on Friday and charged with child neglect without great bodily harm, according to Lee County online booking records.

Authorities said it was not the first time the 18-month-old boy was found walking the family pet unattended, WBBH-TV reported.

The Cape Coral Police Department responded to a 911 call at 9:17 a.m. EDT Friday about an unsupervised child walking the dog, the Miami Herald reported.

Officers who arrived at an intersection discovered the child wearing a soiled diaper and not wearing shoes or pants, the newspaper reported, citing an arrest report.

A neighbor who made the 911 call told police it was at least the seventh time they had witnessed the toddler and dog strolling down the street unsupervised, WBBH reported. The child’s home was near a canal, and Friday’s incident occurred the day a weather system that later became Tropical Storm Alex moved through the area, dumping several inches of rain, according to the television station.

According to police, officers had gone to Wright’s residence 19 times since 2019 on calls that involved runaway juveniles, domestic disturbances and battery, the Herald reported. On April 4, police went to the same address after a child wearing a diaper was reported wandering outside. On May 1, police visited again after receiving reports of a naked child walking outside the residence with a broken glass bottle, according to the newspaper.

On Friday, officers said they found a butcher knife in the driveway, several alcohol bottles in the yard and broken windows covered with cardboard, the Herald reported. Wright told officers there were two 15-year-olds in the house as well as two children, ages 8 and 6, who were all supposed to be watching the toddler, according to her arrest report. She also said the 8-year-old is the boy’s older sister, the report stated.

Wright was released after posting $5,000 bail on Saturday, online records show. She is scheduled to appear in court on July 5, the Herald reported.

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