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Diaper-clad child found alone in West End street

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR) — Neighbors say a child, wearing only a diaper, was standing in the middle of Schaaf Drive Sunday night.

Police were called after a woman working at a nearby house said she couldn’t get the parents to answer the door.

Schaaf Drive, tucked away off Skipwith Road, is normally quiet, according to people living on the street.

“I saw a couple of cop cars, I don’t know how many,” said Emerson Wilby, who lives nearby.

Sunday night in the West End community,  a caregiver for someone living in the neighborhood came across a small child in the middle of the road.

“She found the four-year-old in the street with a diaper on, so she knocked on the door but didn’t get a response,” said Wilby.  “So she called police.”

Police sources say the child had just a diaper and a t-shirt on.

Police reports say the parents, Joseph Floyd and Mindy Housel were arrested for felony child neglect.

“The law puts a certain levels of duties on parents to have a level of care for the children,” said CBS 6 legal expert Todd Stone.  “If they fail to exercise that level, then there are criminal charges. The courts will look at what the children were wearing, how long they were outside and statements by the parents. Does it all make sense?”

People claiming to know the couple said that the couple came across as loving parents. But they said they hadn’t lived at the house for very long.  Stone says a defense lawyer will most likely use character statements like that to help their clients’ case.

“A defense attorney will build a background and show what kind of people they are,” Stone said.  “If they convey to a judge it was a lapse of judgment then maybe it can get reduced.”

The child neglect charge in this case is a class 6 felony which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.

25 comments

    • amylynn

      In response to the people who judge from atop their high horses: This is NOT a case that warrants FELONY CHILD NEGLECT. Any mother who says that they have NEVER had a 5 minute scare..at some point or another is a LIAR, maybe they were all taking a nap, and the child snuck outside…or whatever the case… I am a mother of three, and i can say with absolute certainty, they have done NOTHING neglectful.. It only takes a second for something like this to happen, and its not something that is NEWS WORTHY OR JUSTIFIES A FELONY charge.. they are great parents,the issue is that PEOPLE FUEL THE FIRE AND JUMP THE GUN.. You never know the full story, or exact circumstance, however if you are a mother, if you are a person that has any decency at all… you would NOT be so quick to throw people under the bus..or judge with out knowledge… When we judge people too quickly or Throw nasty comments before thinking.. it only clarifies your own IGNORANCE. We are all human…we all make mistakes..not worthy of FELONY NEGLECT charges, simply a mistake..that could happen to any one at anytime..

      • Real American

        Sorry but none of these comments make sense. So let me get this straight the 4 year old wearing a diaper may have disabilities but enough sense to unlock the door?

        I have a deadbolt and a normal lock on my front door, a four year old cannot open that easily. If the child is disabled to the point they are wearing diapers I think it’s safe to say the parents shouldn’t be knocked to the point that they can’t hear the door.

        Get off of your police boogeyman conspiracies and stop enabling these West End Oxy addict parents.

      • Aaron

        @Real American.. my daughter was in diapers at least overnight until she was 4 (and all the time until she was 3 1/2). She was delayed due to having seizures and being on seizure medication that essentially sedated her. This delayed her even though she stopped taking the medication at a year and a half (and stopped having seizures at about a year old.) She was able to open both a dead bolt and a regular lock by 3 years old. So she was wearing diapers and able to open a locked door completely fine. And almost every parent has had a scare before. My daughter decided to wonder off at 4 years old in a crowded gift shop at Ripleys Aquarium in Myrtle Beach. Took us a good 5 minutes to find her. All it takes is a split second and they can dart off on you. Does that make these parents bad parents? Can’t say because I don’t know every circumstance. I can however say this that it very well can be that they are very good parents and the child just darted out. Any parent that says they are with their child, no matter how young, 24/7/365 is a liar plain and simple because it is impossible. Another point I take issue with is “West End Oxy addicted parents” how the hell do you know what they are or are not addicted to. They may be they may not be just like anyone you pass going down the road, in a store, or anywhere else.

      • James

        You must be family. Thank the neighbor who found the kid and attempted to find the parents before calling the police. The parents didn’t come to the door, what were they doing?

    • sw

      I have 5 grown children. They all potty trained at their own pace. You cannot judge someone because the 4 year old is still in diapers. Maybe he just turned 4 which might make a big difference. You thinking this child should be ripped from his parents without any facts is ridiculous. You need to get a life and stop judging others with no proof.

  • Stateville1991

    Hmmm….And, I ‘Quote’ from this Article: “The Law puts a Certain Levels of Duties on Parents to have a Level of Care for the Children,” said CBS-6 ‘Legal Expert’ Todd Stone. Hmmm….DEFINE: CERTAIN LEVELS – LEGAL EXPERT Todd Stone????

  • Jay

    Last Monday I believe, there was a 2yr old left in the middle of the street at Parham and Holly Hill. This is crazy! Parents on drugs!

  • Stacy

    I don’t know these people and I am in no way defending them, but I will say that maybe we should know the facts before persecuting them. My daughter, now 18, decided to unlock and open our door and go outside on her own while I was in the shower one morning. Did that make me a bad parent?? Absolutely not, however, it did make me take extra precautions to make sure it didn’t happen again.

  • Liz

    I agree with those who are waiting to hear the facts. This news story really tries to paint these parents in a bad light. Were they neglectful? Maybe. But I daresay this has happened to many parents. My best friend in elementary school was a sleepwalker and would open the door at night and go outside. Fortunately, she was caught doing it and her parents installed chain locks that she could not reach on the doors.

  • Reasonable Man

    Totally agree with the commonsense women/mothers that commented on here……the authorities need to look at the facts, question the parents/neighbors/child, look around inside the house, etc. to get the whole picture…..this kind of thing can happen to the best of parents for sure (and often does). After getting the WHOLE picture, then decide on charges, if any. Common sense should prevail.

    And for the person who commented about a 4 yr old in diapers, you are assuming that the 4 yr old has normal development – what if the child was autistic, mentally challenged, etc.? My niece is 7 and still in diapers because she doesn’t have the mental capacity to learn toilet training.

  • sw

    This story is horrible. It is so biased it makes me ill. With no facts they are making these parents out to be horrible parents. As far as a child in a diaper and t-shirt, my grandson sleeps in a t-shirt all the time. He takes his pj’s off all the time. Children get out when parents are sleeping and or taking showers. I had two children with ADHD who would get up during the middle of the night. We had to end up putting key deadbolts on the doors to keep them from getting out (the high bolt would not work because my daughter would pull a table or something over to the door). I don’t like using key deadbolts because if the house were to catch on fire then you have to remember where your keys are in a hurry. Now they make alarms you can put on your door that sets off a siren. If your child gets out while you are showering or during the night while you are sleeping it does not make you a bad parent. It is a wake up call your child can get out and you need to change some things. It is not a felony act. People need to stop with the judgements before the facts.

  • Paula Kennedy

    I can agree with all the comments about not knowing the whole story except for one thing….the Parents could not hear the Police knocking on their door?? That makes me a little suspicious about this. If it was a horrible mistake, it will all come out in the end?

  • Matt W

    The parents answered the door before the police even got there. This article is completely biased and overly sensational because WTVR likes the clicks and wants to make money. There are so many incorrect “facts” in this article it’s not even funny. So stand up on your pedestal and judge until the day something happens and this so called “journalist” tries to ruin your life so he can further his career.

  • big fudge

    Story doesnt make sense. I dont know these fools, but I do know that the media is making them out to be bad parents. Why was the kid outside in the first place… maybe the parents were in the backyard and the kid wandered into the front yard. Remember no one answered the door.

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