FORT PIERCE — A 24-year-old woman accused of letting her four children live in a filthy home littered with "debris and dirt" and with flies and ants "all over the place" is facing a felony child neglect charge, according to an arrest affidavit released Wednesday.
Police on Tuesday morning came to the home of Gaby Lopez in the 400 block of South 18th Street after she left her kids, who range in age from 5 months to 8 years old, in the care of a friend said to be "mildly retarded."
Police walked through the residence and found the children living in an "unhealthy, unsafe environment." Old food was in both beds, and only raw potatoes, tomatoes and onions occupied the refrigerator. Dirty clothes were piled up in the bedrooms and dirty dishes were in the sink.
"There was standing water in the shower that had film over the top of it," the report states. "There was also what looked like vomit or some type of sauce splattered on the wall as you enter the bathroom."
The friend came to visit Lopez about 8 p.m. Monday and agreed to babysit while she went to work. After Lopez left, the friend, whose mother told investigators isn't "mentally fit" to babysit, found no food or baby formula to give the children.
Lopez's mother brought fried chicken during the night, but the friend told police the baby "cried all night because he still didn't have any formula," the report states.
About 8:20 a.m. Tuesday, when Lopez still hadn't returned, the friend called her mother "because she hadn't heard from Lopez and she didn't know what to do."
Several of Lopez's family members showed up and four told police they've spoken to her about her home's "filthy condition" and the way she's bringing up her kids.
They also learned she was leaving the kids "all over the place, with strangers and it greatly concerned them." Lopez, they said, sometimes is gone for the entire weekend and returns Monday, which a landlord verified.
Lopez got home about 11 a.m. and was arrested. A state Department of Children and Families investigator came to the residence and the children were turned over to her.