Couple Arrested After Roaches Crawled Out of Child’s Backpack at School

A Florida couple was apprehended this week following reports from school staff that a child under their care was attending school in an unhygienic state, with her backpack infested with roaches. The child’s condition led authorities to her residence, which was found to be in a state of extreme filth and disorder. Samantha Acker and Christopher Rounds were arrested on Tuesday and are facing four counts each of child neglect, a third-degree felony, according to court documents.

Rounds was additionally charged with one count of resisting an officer without violence. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call from school officials on Sept. 12, after a 15-year-old girl, who is deaf and mute, arrived at school in dirty clothes and with cockroaches in her backpack. The school alerted the sheriff’s office, which led to the inspection of the home of Acker, 37, and Rounds, 36, in Deltona.

Besides the 15-year-old girl, three other children, aged 16, 10, and 8, were also living in the house. According to the deputies, all the children were wearing clothes that hadn’t been washed for a considerable period. Upon arrival at the residence, the authorities found the house in a state of extreme disorder, with signs of a severe cockroach and bug infestation.

The front of the house was littered with over 200 cigarette butts, and partially eaten food was scattered throughout the house and on the floors next to trash and dirty dishes. Garbage piles obstructed most of the doorways to the children’s bedroom, where the bedding appeared unwashed for a long time. The house lacked a functioning air conditioner, despite temperatures regularly nearing 90 degrees.

Despite the 15-year-old girl being deaf and mute since birth, no one in the household was able to communicate with her using sign language. A preliminary investigation revealed that the Department of Children and Families had previously been alerted to the same address due to concerns about the unsuitable living conditions provided by Acker and Rounds. One of the children was reported to have chronic head lice.

Acker reportedly told authorities that the house was messy but not excessively so, and blamed her children for not assisting with cleaning. Rounds became verbally aggressive with the deputies who responded to his home, leading to the resisting arrest charge. He later attributed the poor state of the house to the family’s financial struggles.

All four children were taken into the custody of the Department of Children and Families and moved to temporary guardians. Deputies noted that there were no signs of physical abuse on any of the children. The sheriff’s office has not yet responded to requests for additional information on the case.