A woman was arrested earlier this week after her 19-month-old son was found wearing only a soiled diaper that was covered in roaches while wandering the neighborhood near the family’s home in Pelican Bay, police said.
Tiffany Jenkins, 24, was arrested Thursday on a charge of abandoning or endangering a child, a second-degree felony, Assistant Chief Stephen Combs of the Pelican Bay Police Department said Friday.
Jenkins was held at the Sansom Park Jail, where she was later released. Bail was set at $10,000, Combs said. Jenkins could not be reached for comment Friday evening.
Her four children, including the 19-month-old boy, were staying with great-grandparents after the arrest, Combs said.
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Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for Child Protective Services, said she could not discuss the case because the children were not in her agency’s custody. She confirmed, however, that CPS would investigate.
The child was first spotted Monday in the 1400 block of Sheri Lane North, but the mother was not arrested until Thursday after police completed their investigation, Combs said.
Combs said a woman driving through the neighborhood Monday saw something along the road. As she got closer, she realized it was a child.
There were no adults in sight and she did not know where the child lived, so she took the child to the police station.
Officers later determined that the child was found about 250 feet from his family’s mobile home on Sheri Lane North, Combs said.
At the police station, officers witnessed live cockroaches rushing out of the boy’s soiled diaper, which was his only garment.
“He was covered in dirt and feces, with roaches coming out of his diaper,” Combs said. “It broke the hearts of all my officers.”
Combs added: “We never received a 911 call or a call for service from anyone saying someone’s child was missing. But 30 minutes later, the mother showed up and said she was claiming her child.”
The woman told police she has four kids. She said one of the children injured a foot, and she went inside to attend to that child and left the 19-month-old in the yard.
Combs said Sheri Lane North is a dangerous road on which people are frequently ticketed for going 15 mph over the 20 mph speed limit.
Despite the child’s condition, he was a “bundle of joy,” Combs said.
“He was a great kid. Children are resilient. They just don’t know.”
A 25-page investigation was submitted to the Tarrant County district attorney’s office, Combs said, and prosecutors will determine what happens next.