Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Couple Arrested for Leaving 2 & 4-year-old Alone for Hours

A Holly couple was arrested Friday for child neglect in Florida after they left two young foster children they were caring for in a hotel room while they went to the resort's pool.

According to the Orange County Sheriff's Office, Kimberly and Stephen Simmons left the children, ages 2 and 4, unattended at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort for more than two hours and only returned after being asked to do so by resort staff.

A housekeeper found the children alone, without food or water. Security from Walt Disney World contacted police, according to a sheriff's office incident report.

The report says "the children could have opened the door to the room and wandered the grounds of the resort. The room is on the second floor with a railed balcony the children could have slipped through."

Security tried calling the couple and searched the resort for them. The Simmons were eventually located at one of the swimming pools and asked to return to the room.

Kimberly Simmons, 41, told police she had placed the children down for a nap and then went to the pool with their 6-year-old nephew. Stephen Simmons, 49, according to the report, "also seemed okay with this arrangement."

The couple was arrested for neglecting the children.

Each posted $2,000 bond and were released from jail, said Allen Moore, a spokesman for the Orange County Corrections Department. The couple has not yet been arraigned. Moore said that typically occurs about 30 days after the arrest.

Carrie Hoeppner, spokeswoman for Florida's Department of Children and Families, said protective services officials from Michigan picked up the two children Monday and brought them back to Michigan. The nephew was picked up by family, Hoeppner said. Colleen Steinman, a spokeswoman for Michigan's Department of Human Services, said she couldn't comment on "what our involvement is."

According to police reports, the couple has had custody of the children for nearly two years.

Kimberly Simmons also told police that she's a counselor in Michigan for a school, has a master's degree and "indicated she was aware of what she had done and how to care for children."

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