Parents facing child neglect charges after 14-year-old makes desperate call for help on Halloween

(WHDH) — Two parents are facing child neglect charges after their 14-year-old daughter — who police say was contemplating suicide due to her living conditions and alleged physical and emotional abuse — called an abuse hotline on Halloween to file a report.

Dennis Allen, 33, and Betty Nicolicchia-Allen, 42, were arrested Friday after their emotionally disturbed daughter reported that she was being homeschooled but not being taught anything and that she was being used as a full-time caregiver for her four younger siblings, three dogs, a rabbit, and two chickens while her parents worked late hours, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.

Deputies responding to the family’s residence on Water Oak Road in Bunnell found grass in the front yard “high enough to hide a small child,” the ground littered with rust-covered metal materials, gas cans and beer cans, and the front porch covered in fecal matter from two chickens that freely roamed the property, police said.

When the girl who called the abuse hotline allowed the deputies into her home, police say they discovered that every room in the home was filled with animal feces, animal urine, rotting food, roaches, and other flying insects.

“Some rooms were so littered with trash that deputies were unable to see the floor and their boots stuck to the filth-covered floors,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

FLAGLER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Police say there was no edible food in the refrigerator and there was one bag of frozen chicken in the freezer.

When deputies inspected the only bathroom in the home, police say they found a water hose being run through a window and into the shower because the home had no running water, in addition to a toilet that appeared to have been “used for days on end with no way to discard the waste in the bowl.”

The children in the home reportedly told deputies that they had not been bathed in several days.

“This is a traumatic situation for all of the children involved,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Halloween is a day where kids should be out having fun, not contemplating ending their life. I want to commend the girl for calling the Abuse Hotline and being brave enough to ask for help. These children were living in deplorable conditions. I am thankful that these kids are now safe from these two individuals who obviously do not know how to properly care for children.”

Betty Nicolicchia-Allen and Dennis Allen are each charged with five counts of child neglect.

They remain in jail on a $5,000 bond.

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