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DeLand Police said two people were arrested June 25 and charged with felony child abuse after police found them using drugs near a 2-year-old girl inside a roach-infested vehicle.

Shortly after 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, a DeLand Police officer noticed a vehicle with two adults and one child inside. The vehicle’s engine was turned off and the vehicle was parked in a small park near the intersection of South Stone Street and West Highland Avenue. At the time, the temperature reading in the officer’s vehicle was at 104 degrees, he reported.

After 10 minutes, the Police Department said, the officer approached the car to ask the occupants, a male and a female, if they needed assistance due to the extreme temperature outside.

As the officer approached the vehicle, police said, one of the occupants made movements as if attempting to conceal something. During their conversation, the officer noticed drug paraphernalia in plain view on both adult occupants of the vehicle. A narcotics investigation was initiated.

During the investigation, police said, several needles used to inject narcotics as well as other paraphernalia used to prepare narcotics for injection were found. One of the needles was fully loaded with a liquid substance, police reported. 

A bottle cap containing a substance apparently being prepared for injection was also found. Both the substance in the needle and the bottle cap were identified as opioids, police said.

The male occupant of the vehicle was placed in handcuffs and the female occupant was ordered out of the car and was found to have drug paraphernalia in her purse, police said.

The officer reported that the child was walking around freely inside the vehicle, not wearing shoes and wearing only a shirt and a soiled diaper. The child also had numerous scabs on her legs and another on her neck that had attracted insects, police said.

Inside the vehicle, officers observed several species of insects, including roaches, climbing across the seat near the child, according to the police report. There were also opened and spoiled food containers, dirty diapers and soiled clothing, police said.

DeLand Fire personnel medically cleared the child, who was turned over to a responsible family member, according to the police report.

The occupants of the vehicle were identified as  David Dexter, 30, and Christan Wilson, 28.

Police said Dexter told them the substances in the needle and bottle cap were Dilaudid, and that he and Wilson had purchased the substances illegally with the child in the vehicle. 

Dexter also told officers that the wound on the child’s neck occurred when the child accidentally bumped into someone’s lit cigarette in the Downtown DeLand area, police said. Dexter also told police, officers said, that Wilson had injected narcotics while in the presence of the child.

Dexter and Wilson were charged with one count each of felony child abuse, possession of a Schedule II substance and one misdemeanor charge each of possession of drug paraphernalia.

This afternoon, both were in the Volusia County Branch Jail on $5,500 bond.



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