BUNNELL, Fla. (WWSB) - Deputies in Flagler County say they uncovered a home in "deplorable conditions," creating a "traumatic situation," after a 14-year-old girl called to report her parents.
On October 31, deputies say the teen called an Abuse Hotline and said she was thinking about killing herself because of the home she was living in and alleged physical and emotional abuse by her mother.
She told authorities that she was homeschooled but was not being taught anything. Instead, she said she was forced to take care of her younger siblings, ages 12, 9, 8, and 6, as well as animals, including three dogs, a rabbit and two chickens, while her parents worked until late at night.
Deputies went to the home on Water Oak Road in Bunnell and say the outside was in disarray, with very tall grass in a front yard that was littered with gas cans, beer cans, rusty metal materials and trash. Deputies say the front porch was covered in fecal matter from two chickens that freely roam the property.
The teen allowed deputies in the home, where they say they found animal feces and urine, rotting food, roaches and other flying insects. Deputies say the rooms had so much trash they couldn't see the floors and their boots kept getting stuck to filth.
Deputies say there was no food in the fridge and only one bag of frozen chicken in the freezer. The solitary bathroom had no running water. Deputies say a hose had been run through the window to use as a shower and the toilet hadn't been flushed in days, despite continued use.
The children told deputies that they hadn't bathed in anywhere from three days to a week and when they did they had to go to a nearby camp since there was no running water in the home.
The Department of Children and Families came to the home and took custody of the children. The 14-year-old girl was taken into protective custody under the Baker Act due to statements she made about a desire to harm herself.
The children’s parents, 42-year-old Betty Nicolicchia-Allen and 33-year-old Dennis Allen, were arrested. Each are charged with five counts of Child Neglect.
“This is a traumatic situation for all of the children involved,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Halloween is a day where kids should be out having fun, not contemplating ending their life. I want to commend the girl for calling the Abuse Hotline and being brave enough to ask for help. These children were living in deplorable conditions. I am thankful that these kids are now safe from these two individuals who obviously do not know how to properly care for children.”