Children taken from infested home


Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 12:04 a.m.

Police arrested two Chiefland women over the weekend after finding four children living at a residence that officers said was filled with cockroaches, garbage and rotting food.

Heidi Ann Prophet, 35, and Donna Gail Deal, 64, were each being held at the Levy County jail Monday on a $30,000 bond, jail records showed. The two were each charged with four counts of child neglect, the Chiefland Police Department reported.

The Florida Department of Children and Families had received a complaint about the home on NW 4th Avenue in Chiefland. An investigator with the agency contacted police who went to the home on Saturday.

"It's awful. All over the wall, it's roaches," said Chiefland Police Chief Robert Douglas. "Officers had to keep walking outside because of the stench."

Four children at the home, ages 2, 6, 11 and 17, were removed and placed with either other relatives or foster care, according to police.

One child had bites on his left arm and leg, which investigators suspect may have been caused by roaches or rats, a police report stated.

Douglas said police did not have an explanation from the women for why conditions at the home had deteriorated.

Officers couldn't enter the home's garage and one bedroom because it was full of clothing and trash. The bed where the women and three of the children slept was surrounded by trash and soiled clothing piled higher than the bed, police reported.

Police said almost every room in the home contained garbage, rotting food and dirty clothing.

Roaches and vermin could be seen around the home, and several dogs and cats were inside, digging through garbage bags and spoiled food.

Lise Fisher can be reached at 352-374-5092 or fisherl@gvillesun.com.

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