A couple in Florida have been accused of child neglect for reportedly abandoning their three children in woodland after police found their mobile home was “filled” with burnt syringes, crystal meth and old packets of food.
Former Alabama police officer Michael Butcher, 30, and his wife Sarah were reported to officers by a security guard at their Florida RV park after they “caused a disturbance”, NBC 2 reported.
Residents called guard John Kersey after the Butchers started wandering around the park “acting strangely” and banging on other people’s doors.
Mr Kersey said he asked the couple to leave, but they said they had lost the keys to their pick-up truck. “He was high,” Mr Kersey said. “He was on something, that's for sure.”
The guard called the police, and the couple were arrested by police for loitering, according to FOX 4 News. During a search of their mobile home and of Mr Butcher, police said they found bags containing crystal meth and various items related to substance abuse.
The story took a darker twist when officers at the Water’s Edge Resort caravan park later reported that three children, aged six, eight and 10, turned up at the site where the Butchers’ home had been, and identified their parents as “Michael and Sarah”.
According to ABC News, the police report said the children had been walking in the woods for miles and were “very dirty, hungry, and cold”.
They said their parents had driven them to a wooded area where they often went camping. While they played in the woods, their parents drove off in their truck, leaving only Michael’s shoes, police said.
Officers said the children were sent to Florida’s Department of Children and Families, and Mr and Ms Butcher detained without bail.