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Deputies: Parents arrested after 3 children found living in filthy home

Deputies responding to domestic dispute say they also discovered drugs in house

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – A 911 call about a domestic dispute involving a knife quickly turned into a child neglect investigation, and now the parents of three young children are facing multiple charges, according to the Nassau County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said the incident happened Saturday at a home on Dwight Drive in Nassauville. 

The Sheriff's Office said Virginia Smart was arrested after she tried to stab her husband, Jared Smart, with a kitchen knife following an argument. 

A neighbor, who asked to not be identified, said Virginia Smart put up a struggle during the arrest.

"She was fighting them, telling the officer to let her go, get his hands off her. He physically had to tackle her to put her in the car," the neighbor said.

Inside the home, deputies said, they discovered that the couple's three young children were living in filth. Deputies said they also found drugs within the children's reach.

"It's very sad. I feel bad for the kids. I did hear they found drugs in the house and the condition of the house. It breaks my heart for them," the neighbor said. "They're sweet kids. And they don't belong in a place like that."

Deputies said they found soiled laundry on the living room floor, along with a bucket of vomit. They also spotted a large pet lizard walking freely through the home, with feces in area where the children played.

The kitchen was infested with flying gnats, two bathrooms did not have working toilets because the seats were covered in mold and bugs, and the children's mattresses were filthy, according to deputies.

"I do have children that come over to visit. And some of the language that comes out from over there from her -- mostly she is the one I hear screaming. I've never heard him scream. It's nothing you should say in front of children," the neighbor said.

Neighbors on Tuesday told News4Jax that a Department of Children and Families caseworker removed the children from the home. It is unknown who is currently taking care of them. 

Virginia Smart is charged with child neglect, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, resisting without violence and marijuana possession.

Jared Smart was also arrested Saturday. He is charged with child neglect, marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia possession. 

The couple were released from the Nassau County Jail after posting bail Sunday. When News4Jax stopped by their home Tuesday, they shut the door and refused to talk. 


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