Police: Toddlers wandered outside while woman slept

By Saundra Weathers, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, January 11, 2013

A Winter Haven woman is facing charges after police said three toddlers were found alone outside her home while she was passed out inside.

April J. Ray, 31, is facing charges of child neglect, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to reports, police responded to her home at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday.

Police said Ray’s neighbors found her children out wandering the streets alone not wearing any clothes.

“These children were out here unattended. Anything could’ve happened. It’s just too dangerous for them to have been like that. So I just did the best thing I knew to do,” said neighbor, Berlin Joseph, who called police.

But before she dialed 911 she said she yelled inside Ray’s home so see if anyone was there. She said no one answered.

“I was in there screaming trying to get someone’s attention to see whose kids these were,” said Joseph.

When police arrived, they found the front door of the home wide open, with two of the three children in the yard, the report said.

The officers tried to get the attention of anyone inside, but they were unsuccessful. Neighbors said they had also tried repeatedly to contact Ray before they called police, but they could not contact her either.

Then they went inside the home, where they found Ray in bed and asleep, the report said. After several times to wake her up, including yelling and shaking her, police said she finally woke up.

Police said they found paraphernalia and prescription drugs on the bed Ray had been sleeping in, and that the house was in "complete disarray," with clothes, dirty dishes and feces on the floor.

Some neighbors say Ray simply made a mistake.

“It’s a mistake anybody could make and yeah it could’ve been a crucial mistake in it but thank god nothing did happen,” said neighbor Almary Johnson.

Ray was arrested and taken to the Polk County Jail. The children were turned over to family members.