Woman arrested after keeping children in a roach-infested home

A Palm Bay woman was arrested on child abuse charges.
A Palm Bay woman was arrested on child abuse charges.

PALM BAY, Florida – A woman was arrested on charges of child abuse after her home was found “completely infested with roaches,” according to the Palm Bay Police Department.

Ashley J. Gunter, 28, was arrested last Friday after a joint investigation with police and the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF).

Four adults and three children occupied the home.

“As I toured the house, I found the home completely infested with roaches. The bugs covered every inch of the home from floor to ceiling, and some of them were as large as an adult thumb,” the officer said.

Police said the home was “very dirty” and cluttered with clothing and general home debris. The condition of the home made it hard to move from room to room, according to the report.

The children were found in the master bedroom of the home, which was very cluttered with one mattress, the report said.

“The entire master bathroom of the home was very dirty and completely molded. The kitchen of the home had one sink filled with black water, with trash floating in it,” police said.

Palm Bay investigators said the countertops were “piled high” with dirty dishes and “all kinds of kitchen waste.” There were cooking utensils that had “roach feces all over them,” the affidavit said.

“Mold was on the walls and there was a large amount of flies. The ceilings of the home had dirt, cobwebs, and what also appeared to be mold,” investigators said.

Gunter told officers that they haven’t had air conditioning since Hurricane Irma, and that they go out to get food every day.

Police said the home had no ventilation and it appeared as if the windows had never been opened.

“The home was very hot and humid, had a strong dirty, musty, odor, and the air was stagnant and almost unbearable,” according to the affidavit.

The three children were walking around the home barefoot with numerous bug bites on their feet and legs, according to police.

More: Palm Bay Man Arrested on Child Abuse Charges

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Investigators said they did not observe any clean clothing for the children in the home, and there wasn’t a place clean enough to bathe or wash the children.

Gunter was arrested and transported to the Brevard County Jail where bond was set at $30,000.

DISCLAIMER: Arrests and mugshots were made public by complaint affidavits, arrest affidavits, and police reports. All persons arrested are innocent until proven guilty.

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Scott Lee travels between Brevard County and Indian River County and has been writing for various publications for approximately 30 years. Lee also writes for Sebastian Daily covering Vero Beach and Florida news. Currently, he covers Palm Bay, West Melbourne, and the Melbourne area.
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