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Parents accused of child neglect after kids found in woods

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, FL - A Charlotte County couple is accused of child neglect after their kids were found walking through the woods in Punta Gorda looking for help.

Investigators say on Friday evening, Michael and Sarah Butcher caused a disturbance at Water's Edge Resort, a place known peace and quiet.

It didn't take long before the entire neighborhood knew a few people were inside who didn't quite belong. "The young man seemed to be quite agitated," said witness Arthur Giasson. "Talking in a loud manner and just acting strangely."

Giasson went outside to lock up his four-wheeler when he noticed a woman standing by the trailers, as a man walked down the street and allegedly started banging on peoples' doors asking to be let inside.

A resident called security guard John Kersey.

"The dome light [of their vehicle] was on but no one was there," he said. "Then, I heard a voice and said, 'Hey you two!'"

Kersey called 911 after an unsuccessful attempt to get the couple to leave.

"He was high," said Kersey. "He was on something, that's for sure."

The Butchers were arrested for loitering and prowling and meth possession.

During their booking process, the jail received a strange phone call from another deputy. He'd located three children claiming the Butcher's were their parents. A 6, 8 and 10-year-old were found abandoned in woods near Piper Road and Henry Street.

"I didn't even know they had three kids," said witness Karen Taylor. "This is the first I heard they had three kids. And to drop your kids off in the woods and just... it's... it's awful."

Deputies said it looks as though the family was living out of a truck filled with syringes and old food.

"That's terrible these young children have to put up with a couple of parents that are that neglecting of them," said Giasson. "Some people just don't deserve children. I hope they get the proper care."

It's unclear how long the children were abandoned. The parents are being held at the Charlotte County Jail without bond. The children are in DCF custody.

Article by Lucas Seller

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