Winter Haven kids found in deplorable conditions

Posted at 2:50 PM, May 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 17:27:46-04

A Winter Haven husband and wife were arrested child abuse and drug charges for allowing their kids to live in a house that "smelled like rotten food and feces."

Ashley and Richard Barnett were arrested Sunday afternoon.

Investigators released pictures of the inside of the home located on Avenue M SW in Winter Haven that show piles of trash in every corner of the house, dirty bath water with roaches floating on the top, and rotten food sitting on the bed.

According to the officer, the stench when she first walked in "took her breath away."

"As soon as the officers walked into the home, it was in complete disarray, it was actually deplorable," said Jamie Brown WHPD Spokesperson. "It took the breath away from the officers."

Brown smears on the walls are believed to be human feces. Winter Haven Police also said the home did not have any running water.

"One time she did come over and asked for a bottle water and used the outside spicket so we figured something was up," said Tom Hickey, who lived next door.

He said they seemed like normal people and had no idea they and their two kids were living in filth

"Well it's no surprise because you see the outside," he said.

Investigators said at least one of the Barnett's had a job and money coming in, but appears they spent it elsewhere.

Somewhere in the pile of trash, detectives also found meth and pipes but the suspect's claimed it wasn't theirs.

It also appears this isn't the first time the two have trashed a house they didn't own.

"I had to get it fumigated like four times," said Edwin Munoz, who lives at a home on High Street, where the Barnett's used to live before getting kicked out.

"When you opened the door, you really felt like throwing up. It really felt like someone died in there. I never experienced anything like that in my life," he said.

The Barnett's two kids are now living with family.

The Department of Children and Families is investigating.