Woman charged with neglect of child, great-grandmother
PORT CHARLOTTE — Charlotte County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit detectives arrested a Port Charlotte woman Tuesday on two counts of child neglect and one for neglect of an elderly person. The mother took her 14-year-old daughter to Orlando last weekend for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. Arrested was Susan Christine Warner, 40, of the 1200 block of Kensington Street. CCSO received a call Sunday evening from a neighbor after Warner’s 10-year-old daughter came to her home saying she was hungry. The neighbor went to the girl’s home, found it in deplorable condition, and called the CCSO. In the meantime, the neighbor ordered pizza for the 10-year-old, her 3-year-old sister, and their 87-year-old bedridden great-grandmother.
When deputies arrived, they met the 10-year-old and went into the home. Deputies noted a strong, foul odor inside and bugs flying around. In the kitchen, the sink was filled with old water and dirty dishes, old, rotting and moldy food atop the counters, and large trash bags containing waste were piled up. The refrigerator had a foul-smelling uncooked chicken inside, dog feces were found on the floors throughout the house and showed signs of being walked through. The 3-year-old was filthy and dressed in oversized clothing and was running about barefoot. The master bedroom, the sole access to the only working bathroom, was littered with piles of dirty clothes and old food containers. The only shower was stopped up and filled with clothes, various items and broken toys. The walkway to the toilet and sinks was not passable unless you walked on piles of clothes, bathroom items and soiled baby diapers. In the guest bedroom, the 87-year-old great-grandmother was found lying in bed with the stench of urine. Deputies learned she had fallen four days before, urinated in her bed, and was very confused. EMS was called and transported her to Fawcett Memorial Hospital, where she was admitted. MCU detectives responded, began their investigation, and called DCF. Around 8:30 p.m., Warner and her older daughter arrived with a man and four juvenile teenagers. Warner began screaming and crying and was told about the investigation. She told detectives she knew the home was very dirty, was sorry, and she would clean it up. She said her husband has been in the Sarasota County Jail since last June, she was having depression issues, and needed to get away. She said she and her daughter went with friends last Friday to Orlando but got there too late for the evening event. They exchanged tickets for Saturday and spent the night. Warner said her grandmother was fine when they left and she left food for the kids. She also said since there was an adult in the house, she thought her two kids would be OK. She said she makes sure her grandmother gets her medications, makes breakfast and dinner, and takes her to doctors for appointments. Detectives found a can of tomato soup on the kitchen counter that had multiple punch marks trying to open it. The 10-year-old said she didn’t know how to use a can opener. She also said she tried to cook spaghetti but couldn’t find what she needed. Detectives went to the hospital and learned that the great-grandmother had dried feces and dirt on the bottom of her feet. The top of her feet showed brown substance squished up between her toes consistent with stepping in a pile of dog feces. The DCF turned over all three children to a relative. Detectives said based on the overwhelming evidence, Warner was arrested and transported to the Charlotte County Jail, where she remains at this time on no bond.