Two arrested in child neglect case

Robert Burdette, 25 and Casey Rocco, 24, both of Homosassa (September 29, 2017)

A Homosassa couple has been arrested and are facing charges of child neglect.

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office on Friday said that deputies had responded to a home in Homosassa after a neighbor called in a well-being check on two small children.

Upon arrival deputies noticed a carabineer type clip that was keeping the front door of the residence closed from the outside. Deputies knocked on the door and announced themselves, at which time a 4-year-old girl came to the door and opened it as far as she could. When asked if any adults were home, she said no. The only other person located inside the home was a 2-year-old girl sleeping on a mattress in the living room.

The CCSO said that when detectives from the Criminal Investigations Division arrived on scene and walked inside the home, they were shocked. The home was deplorable. There was what appeared to be both human and dog feces covering every inch of the floors, cockroaches and other insects everywhere, the CCSO said.

There was also rotting food, and toilets were nearly overflowing with more urine and feces. Both young girls were filthy, not just with dirt, but with feces all over them, the CCSO said. Their hair was tangled, and it appeared as though the girls had not showered in days, or possibly longer. There were child-sized hand and footprints in the feces on the floor throughout the house.

A short time later, defendants Robert Burdette, 25, and Casey Rocco, 24, both of Homosassa, were dropped off in front of the house by a taxi. Detectives questioned both Burdette and Rocco as to why the girls were kept locked inside the home without adult supervision.

Both Burdette and Rocco were subsequently arrested and taken to jail. Burdette was charged with two counts of child neglect. Rocco is also charged with two counts of child neglect and one count of domestic battery from a previous altercation.

“This is one of the worst cases of child neglect our detectives have ever seen,” said Sgt. John Bergen of the CCSO Major Crimes division. “From patrol to forensics, everyone that was involved in this case came together for the good of these children.”

DCF sheltered the children with a family member and implemented a safety plan for the future.



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