A Florida woman was arrested after five small children who were in her care were found crossing a busy highway alone. The kids, aged one to five, were all wearing heavily soiled diapers and unable to say who their parents were.

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According to NBC News, a motorist alerted authorities that the children were trying to enter traffic lanes on Route 19 outside of Spring Hill, which is 40 miles north of Tampa. After deputies arrived, a 24-year-old woman named Samantha McCarthy appeared at the scene and told them she had been sleeping at a Motel 6 when the children had disappeared. She claimed the door was locked and she did not know how the kids were able to get out. The relationship McCarthy has to the children is unknown.

The youngest child had a severe body rash that appeared to have been there for several weeks. McCarthy said she had planned to seek medical care for the child later that day, but authorities confirmed McCarthy did not have a doctor’s appointment scheduled or a method of transportation. The children were taken into custody by the Department for Children and Families and the youngest was taken to a local hospital to be treated for the rash.

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McCarthy was arrested on suspicion of child neglect with a bond set at $5,000.


Contact the author at marie.lodi@jezebel.com.