wjxt logo

JSO: 2 charged with child neglect after kids walk away from filthy home

2 young children were found barefoot, standing in rain, Jacksonville police say

Jerry Nipper, 33 and Lana Mitchell, 30
Jerry Nipper, 33 and Lana Mitchell, 30

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man and a woman were arrested this week after two young children were found barefoot and standing in the rain, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.

Lana Mitchell, 30, and Jerry Nipper, 33, are both charged with child neglect. 

According to the Sheriff's Office, the children were found Monday outside the restaurant where Nipper was working. 

Police said they took the children to their home about a third of a mile away, and found “deplorable conditions.” Officers said Mitchell was there, apparently unaware the kids had left.

According to police, the entire floor was littered with trash, the sink was filled with dirty dishes, the bathtub was filled with dirty laundry, there was a cat litter box full of cat feces, there were two cartons of broken eggs covered with bugs in the children’s room, and the place was filled “with a strong unpleasant smell.”

Mitchell and Nipper were booked into the Duval County jail, where she's being held on $15,000 bond and he's being held on $10,000 bond.

The Florida Department of Children and Families is investigating.

A spokesman for DCF told News4Jax Friday that the children are safe in foster care, and were checked medically.

The spokesman said, "No child should have to live in those conditions," which he described as "inhumane."

He reminded people, if they suspect abuse or neglect, to call 1-800-962-2873 or 800-96-ABUSE. 

About the Authors:

Reports weeknights for The Ten O'Clock News and News4Jax at 11.