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Mom charged with child cruelty
Deputies found boy, 2, trapped alone in 'filthy' home
Davis Stephanie Nichole taken 6-23-2012

A 21-year-old Cumming mother has been charged with cruelty to children after authorities say she left her 2-year-old son trapped alone in a room with no food or drink at a garbage-filled home.

According to a Forsyth County sheriff’s report, Stephanie Davis of Boxer Lane faces one count each of cruelty to children in the second degree and reckless conduct.

Davis is being held at the Fulton County Jail after Roswell police arrested her last week on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding, according to the sheriff’s report.

The Department of Family and Children’s Services has placed the child in protective custody, according to the sheriff’s report.

“This was a situation that could have ended quite differently,” said Sheriff Ted Paxton. “Thankfully, the child was located and is now safe.”

It was Davis’ arrest that led local sheriff’s deputies to her house, where they found the child about 8:40 a.m. Friday.

A family member, who had been in touch with Davis after she was arrested four hours earlier, was concerned about the child’s safety and alerted sheriff’s deputies.

According to the sheriff’s report, Davis had told the family member that someone was watching her son, but the woman suspected the child was alone and unattended. The family member lived more than an hour away.

Forsyth County Sheriff’s Capt. Tim House said authorities have “gotten conflicting stories” on whether Davis thought someone was watching her child.

“We’re not sure if anybody was watching the child,” he said. “We got a phone call from a family member that said that that child was probably there alone, and that’s what prompted the welfare check.”

Deputies arrived Friday morning to find no one home, the door locked and a dog barking inside. They also heard cries of a child.

Citing the circumstances,Paxton said one of the deputies pulled the screen off of the window and entered the home.

“What he found was a child that was trapped in his room by a closed door, equipped with a safety device on the inside doorknob, that prevented the child from opening the door,” the sheriff said.

“The child was dressed in a dirty white T-shirt. He had removed his diaper himself and it was on the floor, filled to overflowing with feces. The child had feces on his hands, feet and legs.”

The deputy also found what appeared to be bug bites, possibly from fleas, on the legs of the boy, the report said. Deputies began to clean him, but due to the disarray of the home could not tell if clothes on the floor were clean or dirty.

“One deputy got clothes and food from his home and gave it to the child, while another went to a local store to get the child something to drink,” Paxton said. “Deputies said it was clear that the child was very hungry.”

It’s not known how long the child had been alone prior to the phone call from the mother to the relative.

The home was described by deputies as “filthy.” According to the report, “The odor emanating from the inside of the house was a mixture of rotting food, urine and feces.”

The report went on to note that two rooms, including the one where the child was found, had only a mattress and box springs on the floor. Clothing was strewn throughout.

According to the report, “Towels and used razors were found on the floor outside of the shower, as well as overflowing trash. In the kitchen, deputies found dirty dishes, rotting food and trash.”

There were more than 50 bags of garbage on the porch. In addition, some window panes were broken, including in the room where the child was found, the report said.

Deputies also found two dogs, one of whom was held in a cage, inside the home. According to the report, both were taken outside and given water. Animal control later picked them up after no one could be found to care for them.

Davis’ bond in Fulton County has been set at $2,500, authorities said.

“Once she receives a bond and is able to make a bond out of that facility,” House said, “then our deputies will travel down to the Fulton County Jail to retrieve her and bring her back up here where she’ll be formally charged with child cruelty.”

The investigation is ongoing, he said.

“As far as the children, we don’t know who the father is,” House said. “There was only one [child] in the house.”