On 12-29-15 at approximately 9 a.m., Hernando County deputies were dispatched to the area of U.S. 19 in front of the Motel 6 regarding a Suspicious Incident.
Dispatchers received a call from a concerned motorist who had observed five very small children attempting to cross the highway to get to Weeki Wachee Springs. The motorist was able to stop the children before they entered into the lanes of traffic.
The children were too young to advise their names and/or who their parents were. All of the children were wearing only diapers, which were heavily soiled.
The youngest child, a female, had a severe rash on various parts of her body. Fire/Rescue was called to the scene to examine the child. Paramedics advised the rash appeared to be several weeks old.
After being on scene for over 30 minutes, deputies were approached by Samantha McCarthy. McCarthy went to the lobby of the Motel 6 because the children she was caring for were missing. McCarthy told deputies that she had been sleeping and did not realize the children had left the room. She stated the door was locked and had no idea how they could have gotten out.
Deputies learned the ages of the children were five years old, four years old, three years old, two years old, and one year old.
Deputies asked McCarthy about the skin infection/rash on the youngest child. She advised that it had been there for two to three days and had not been treated but planned to seek treatment later that day. Deputies confirmed that McCarthy had no mode of transportation and had made no appointment to have the child seen by a physician.
Deputies contacted the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and requested a response.
DCF conducted a check of the motel room and found there to be no food for the children and only minimal clothing.
Due to the severity of the skin infection/rash, the one-year old was transported to a local hospital for immediate treatment.
DCF took custody of the children.
Samantha Lynn McCarthy W/F DOB/04-11-1991 was placed under arrest. McCarthy was charged with Child Neglect. Her bond was set at $5,000.