Tampa Police Rescue Elderly Residents in Overcrowded Home Without Air Conditioning

Eighteen residents of a state-licensed boarding home have been removed after authorities found them in an overcrowded residence without air conditioning as temperatures soared outside.

Authorities said the residents had been without air conditioning for up to two days in windowless rooms furnished with bunk beds while the heat index outside reached 104 degrees. One 86-year-old woman, found unresponsive on the floor, was taken to a hospital.

The Department of Children & Families took 16 of the residents to Bay Gardens Retirement Village near the University of South Florida, said Nancy Ortiz, a nurse who helped care for them when they arrived Thursday evening. A sister picked up one resident, and the 86-year-old remained at the hospital, where she was responsive.

Investigators arrested Daphne Jones, 36, charging her with 18 counts of neglect of the elderly or disabled, jail records showed. Jones posted $135,000 bail Friday and was released from jail. It was not immediately known if she had an attorney.

The Agency for Health Care Administration licensed Jones to run an adult family care home, but in a larger home across town. Since 2005, the two-story home was allowed to house no more than five residents and faced the same regulations as an assisted living facility, with the additional rule that Jones live there.

Several state and local agencies are investigating the case since Jones has several businesses she runs in opposite sides of the city, including an adult day care center and a barber shop, officials said.

U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr. sentenced Jones in 2003 to two years probation and ordered her to pay $41,000 in restitution to the Social Security Administration, court records show.