Around 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Waveland police officers were dispatched to St. Joseph Street in reference to a report that two small children were playing near the roadway while unattended, Chief James Varnell said Monday.
“Roth Michael Rouse, age 24, … was arrested and charged with child neglect, which is a misdemeanor,” Varnell said. “Bond was set at $1,000, with an initial court appearance in Municipal Court set for May 13.
“The city worker reported to officers an attempt was made to make contact with someone at the residence, without contact being made. Officers observed a small three-year-old female and a one-year-old on the porch of the residence, and the children were covered from head to toe with a mixture of dirt, mud and chocolate powder. Officers then attempted to talk to the children on the porch and observed multiple open packets of chocolate powder and oatmeal all over the porch. Officers also saw a male laying on the sofa in the living room,” Varnell said in a news release.
“Officers tried to get the male’s attention by knocking on the door, but to no avail. They then entered the door and awoke the male, who was a 17-year-old sibling of the two children. When asked who was responsible for the children, he said his father was. Officers then located the father in a bedroom, also sleeping.
“Officers found the house to be in a deplorable condition. There was animal fecal matter on the floor in the kitchen and food on the counter and stove that appeared to be days old. They also observed chocolate powder throughout the house, clothing and items in disarray throughout the residence. The mother of the children was supposed to be at work. The father and son got into an argument as to who was in charged of the children,” Varnell said.
The Department of Human Services was then contacted and the father was transported to jail. Officers and DHS remained on the scene until the mother arrived. The mother, Cynthia Rouse, gave an Auderer Blvd., Waveland, address Varnell said.
BY Ellis C. Cuevas
The Sea Coast Echo