A Texas mother was arrested after her three-year-old daughter was found wandering their apartment complex and told an officer “I need a beer,” police said.
Officers responding Saturday to the Corte Vista Apartments found the barefoot tot in the courtyard of the apartment complex wearing an unfastened, dirty dress and covered in what appeared to be bug bites, accord to an arrest report filed by Lubbock Police.
The complex’s manager told police that the little girl’s mother, 42-year-old Shauna Lee Bennett, had done this before and that he had taken her back to the apartment several times, including as recently as a week earlier.
He told authorities that when he brought the toddler back to her mom’s home, he found the door ajar and no one answered his yells, so he called police.
When police entered the child’s home, they were “overwhelmed by the filthy state of the apartment,” the arrest report said.
“The entire room was dirty and dusty… the living room (was) in disarray, with the couch in the middle of the walkway, dirty clothes strung all over the floor, and dirty and moldy dishes on the table.
“There were cockroaches on the walls, furniture, and floor,” the report said.
Bennett was reportedly asleep and completely unaware that her daughter had wandered out of the apartment.
Police said she told them her daughter was “in the living room watching T.V.” and had seen her “five minutes ago.”
A neighbor told police that the child had been outside by herself for more than two hours.
“I asked (Bennett) about the sores and bumps on her and (her daughter)’s bodies,” police said. “(Bennett) replied that she had previously had a problem with ‘bed bugs.’ The sores… indicated that the problem had never been treated.”
Bennet reportedly told police that, while she is at work, her daughter is cared for by a neighbor. The confirmed that he watches the little girl about 10 hours a day, four days a week.
He said “he does not feed her, and that (Bennett) is the one who takes care of that.”
Police said Bennett’s actions “placed (her daughter) in imminent danger of death, serious body injury, and especially physical or mental impairment.”
Over the course of about an hour of playing with the girl, police said she said multiple times that she was hungry, and “I need a beer.”
The girl was placed with Child Protective Services.
Bennett was arrested and charged with abandoning and endangering a child, officials said.
When she was told she was being arrested, Bennett allegedly “had absolutely no care or concern about the situation or about (her daughter’s) well-being,” police said.
Bennett was in jail on $15,000 bond until she was released from custody Monday, inmate records show.
As of Tuesday, she had not been indicted yet, nor had she been appointed an attorney, officials said.
Attempts to reach Bennett for comment were unsuccessful.