PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Two Florida parents were arrested Monday on child abuse charges after one of their children set a mattress on fire to escape the “deplorable” conditions of their bedroom, police say.
Kelley Davis, 36, and Daniel Davis, 37, have six children ranging from infant to 10 years old but have kept one of them locked in a bedroom with no power since at least March, according to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators said the parents didn’t fully indicate why they singled out the child other than to point to personality traits they didn’t like.
The sheriff’s office initially responded to the Spring Hill home after reports of arson. When deputies arrived, they discovered one of the couple’s children had set fire to a mattress in order to escape a bedroom.
Deputies discovered the child was often locked in the bedroom without electricity or natural light. The door was locked from the outside and a board was nailed to the exterior door frame, preventing the child from escaping. Deputies said the only window in the room was covered with a board screwed into the wall.
The ceiling fan in the room did not have light bulbs in it, but even if it did, deputies said, the power was turned off in the child’s room at the circuit breaker.
Deputies said they also found feces on the wall and urine on the floor of the bedroom. The suspects reportedly admitted the child had to yell for them if they needed to use the bathroom, but they wouldn’t always hear it. They also admitted to locking the child in the room at night for about 11 or 12 hours and also when the child misbehaved.
Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said detectives learned that one of the victim’s five sisters passed a box of matches under the door that the child used to set the mattress on fire.
Daniel and Kelley Davis were each charged with one count of aggravated child abuse. All children inside the home are now in protective custody.