Lubbock, Texas police said they could see signs of neglect everywhere: cockroaches climbing the walls, a dirty apartment, moldy dishes.
But perhaps the clearest sign something was amiss was when Shauna Bennett’s 3-year-old daughter reportedly told cops on Saturday: “I need a beer.”
Bennett, 42, is charged with abandoning and endangering her child after police found the little girl wandering her apartment complex, barefoot, dirty and with bed bug bites covering her body, FOX34 reported. Bennett is currently in jail on a $15,000 bond.
“This was a clear neglect on the mother’s part,” Lubbock Lt. Ray Mendoza told FOX34.
A police report said when officers brought the child back to her apartment they found the door ajar. Cops called out to Bennett multiple times with no answer before finally entering the apartment, where they found the mother, reportedly asleep.
“More than anything it was the conditions the child was living under and the fact that the mom was completely oblivious to where the child had been or where it was at the time,” Mendoza said.
Neighbor Keith Graves, who sometimes babysits the child, called the incident a misunderstanding.
“[She] is very rambunctious and has a lot of energy and she knows how to get out of the apartment – so she got out of the apartment and did what a 3-year-old does, play around,” Graves told FOX34. “A kid is going to play outside, not have shoes on and so forth, so a child being not clean, that’s just natural.”
But the Corte Vista Apartments’ owner said this isn’t the first time the girl has been seen alone in the hallways. He also told FOX34 he confronted Bennett about a noise complaint two weeks ago and chided her for the unkempt apartment.
“It could have been cleaned a little better,” Graves said, “but Shauna was doing the best that she could under the circumstances that she was in.”