Two Suspects Arrested For Child Neglect After Leaving Four Young Kids In A Motel Room By Themselves

By  //  June 30, 2017

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After over an hour and a half of investigation, the parents, Shandra Gatlin and Samuel Rodney returned to the motel and were arrested, shortly after. (MPD Image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Melbourne Police have arrested two suspects for child neglect after finding four of their young children at a motel alone, with no adults present, according Sgt. Brian Hart of MPD.

In the report, officers from the Melbourne Police Department responded to the River Palm Motel near 420 S. Harbor City Blvd., in reference to a report of a 6-year-old juvenile wandering around the motel without adult supervision.

Officers arrived at the location and made contact with motel staff and the child.

The child took officers to her hotel room where three other juveniles, ages 7, 3, and 1, were found.

The motel room the children were located in was in a less than sanitary and safe condition, according to police.

Once inside, officers didn’t find any food or drinks for the children, except for rotting food and the bed sheets soiled with human waste, dirty diapers left exposed, and numerous cigarette butts on the floor within immediate reach of all the children.

Melbourne PD says it was apparent the children had no means to contact the parents in case of an emergency.

The room was located on the second floor of the motel and accessed by a concrete stairwell. On the motel’s property was a swimming pool and the motel is situated right on US1, a major roadway with a significant amount of high speed traffic.

Officers began searching for the parents using the phone numbers listed at check in and other law enforcement databases. Authorities  began checking with local hospitals and other facilities in attempts to locate the children’s parents.

After over an hour and a half of investigation, the parents, 33-year-old Shandra Gatlin and 34-year-old Samuel Rodney, returned to the motel.

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The parents provided a story of where they were, however, the information provided could not be corroborated nor was any valid reason for leaving the children unattended for a minimum of an hour and half provided.

Both parents failed to properly supervise and maintain a safe and healthy environment for their children.

As a result both parents were arrested and charged with child neglect.

The Florida Department of Children and Families responded and took custody of the children. Both parents were booked at the Melbourne Police Department and turned over to the care and custody of the Brevard County Jail.