MANATEE -- A mother, father, grandmother and great-grandmother were arrested about 8:52 a.m. Thursday for neglecting a 20-month-old and an 8-month old baby, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies serving an eviction notice at a residence in the 1500 block of 60th Avenue Drive East in Bradenton discovered "deplorable living conditions," according to a release.
Feces, decomposing food and garbage were on the floor, as well as an "indescribable" smell, deputies said. The babies had diapers full of urine and feces.
Theresa Miller, 19, the mother; Keith Davis, 47, the father; Linda A. Miller, 40, the grandmother; and Linda E. Miller, 67, the great-grandmother, all lived at the residence with the children. All four suspects were charged with child neglect.
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The smell described by deputies permeated the outside of the home. The front yard was littered with discarded items -- a child car seat, upside-down garbage bins and a soiled, mangled baby playpen. A small teddy bear was strewn beside the mailbox near an overturned television set and car tire.
"They weren't abusive to the children at all. They would play with them out in the yard and everything like that," said Richard, a neighbor who asked to be called only by his first name. "It wasn't that. It was the living condition that was ... the problem. We couldn't understand that."
The people who lived in the home were friendly, he said. Arms crossed, the 65-year-old man peered over at the front yard of the home.
"This out here looks just like the inside of the house," he said, adding he used to live in that same house two years ago. "When they moved into that house, it was spotless."
The neighbor said the Millers and Davis also had about 10 cats and one dog they didn't care for in the home.
"After seeing the (living) conditions, I felt bad for the little kids having to live in that situation. ... I just can't understand that kind of living condition," he said. "I don't know that they should have been arrested, you know. ... I don't know what's behind that. I don't care. That's none of my business."
A man who said he was the owner of the property later drove by in a truck. He showed a Bradenton Herald reporter and photographer photos of the house before the family moved but declined to speak for the story. The images showed a tidy home inside and out.
In the backyard, garbage was everywhere, including numerous cups, boxes and piles of trash on top of a fire pit. A dirty, crumpled U.S. flag was laying on the ground. A tent was set up behind the home, and a storage shed containing furniture appeared to have housed other people.
According to the sheriff's office, an open sewer drain was flowing into the yard near the tents.
Adam Spry, standing outside two doors down from the home, said he lived in the shed when he was also evicted from Thursday morning. The 28-year-old said he thinks the children's mother has a mental disability.
"Keith, the father of the children, he went out and worked every day," Spry said. "He would come back, clean the house, take care of the kids, make dinner, everything else. I mean, he really tried hard."
He blamed the home's living conditions on the landlord, saying he neglected the property.
Spry said he didn't think all four should have gone to jail -- maybe just one or two of the family members.
Spry and Kevin Varela, who worked on his boat outside a neighbor's home, said the children's great-grandmother would sometimes yell at the children.
Booking information for the family members was not available on the Manatee County jail website.
The children were removed and sheltered by child protective services, according to the sheriff's office.
Kate Irby, online/political reporter, contributed to this report.
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter@AmarisCastillo.