Toddler found in car with guns, drugs, reptiles and insects

MONROE COUNTY, Fla. — A Florida couple is facing a list of charges after their young son was found in their car in what deputies described as “squalid conditions.”

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The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrests of Zachary Sousa Engren and Jillian Larae Meyers in a news release, saying the pair were charged with child abuse, possession of marijuana, possession of synthetic marijuana and  possession of marijuana paraphernalia and weapons.

Deputies said they stopped the car the couple was driving late Tuesday night after receiving reports of a reckless driver. Engren was behind the wheel, with Meyers in the passenger seat and a 2-year-old boy in a car seat. Deputies said there was an additional passenger in the car, who was not identified, and is not facing charges.

When deputies stopped the car, they noticed the smell of marijuana. Upon searching the car, deputies said they found marijuana and a .40-caliber Glock handgun under the passenger seat.

Describing the conditions in the car, deputies said it “was filthy, laden with used food containers, clothes and trash. There were assorted reptiles and insects in boxes in the trunk. Cockroaches were crawling on the child.”

Engren and Meyers told deputies that the child was in their car and claimed to have diapers, but deputies were unable to find any in the car. Deputies said the couple gave conflicting stories when they were asked when the child last ate. The three adults in the car admitted to living in the vehicle.

The passenger, who was not charged, told deputies that the trio had been in the Keys to collect reptiles and insects. He told officers he did not know about the gun or the drugs. The child was placed into the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

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