Lubbock Police arrested Shauna Lee Bennett, 42, of Lubbock for abandonment of a child. Police were called Saturday afternoon to an apartment complex in the 100 block of Waco Avenue for a 3-year-old girl who was found alone.
Police noticed the little girl was dirty and covered in red bumps. Officers learned from neighbors the apartment number for the girl’s mom. Officers knocked on the door but no one answered. So, officers went inside.
An officer wrote in a police report, “As soon as I entered I was overwhelmed by the filthy state of the apartment.”
“There were piles of dirty and moldy dishes on the counter, stove, and sink,” the police report said. “There was trash on the floor and counter. There were cockroaches absolutely everywhere. The kitchen was in no way sanitary or functional.”
"I think she may have been troubled and just not known what to do, where to go in her situation," said neighbor Lois Griffith. "I think that when they're that small and you're going to have them outside then you need to supervise them. You need to be within grabbing distance, because if they fall off of something, they're going to be climbers at that age."
"For the little girl right now, I want her to feel stability," Griffith added.
According to the police report, the little girl said, “I’m hungry,” multiple times.
The 3-year-old girl also said, “I need a beer.”
An officer in the police report also wrote, “I had probable cause to believe that [the little girl] had not been fed, washed, or provided with any type of general medical care or treatment for an unsafe amount of time.”
"It's really difficult when you talk about children who are not... old enough to speak out on their behalf which is what is so scary for parents," said Stacy Johnson, Director of Texas Tech's Child Development Research Center.
"Being a mother can be hard. And it can be overwhelming. and sometimes you need help and you just don't know where to go," Griffith said through tears. "I don't know what the answer is."
"If the people of Lubbock can rally around the homeless people in Tent City, they could help this one little girl and this mother. Hopefully help them get back together," said Griffith.
The police report said Bennett’s answers to officers’ questions did not match up to what they were seeing. The child was placed with Children’s Protective Services.
Bennett was released from the Lubbock County Detention Center on a $15,000 bond.
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