The day began with a hungry and dehydrated 2-year-old boy tugging a tub of toys across a parking lot in 90-degree heat, alone, while his father slept soundly inside on the couch in his underwear.
The day ended with the arrest of a couple sporting fresh track marks across their arms in a home where several children watched television surrounded by a dozen exposed syringes, pills and garbage.
On Monday, authorities arrested both the couple and the father in two separate child neglect cases in Palm Beach County.
The first case began around 10:25 a.m. in the 700 block of Via Lugano Circle in Boynton Beach, where a passer-by spotted a little boy wandering barefoot in the middle of a parking lot.
The boy did not know his name or where he lived. John Fritch, of Boynton Beach, waited 10 minutes for the boy's parents to show.
When no one came, he called police.
Officers identified the boy's father using the tags of the Silver Nissan parked in front of building 700. Thomas Walker answered the knock at his door in his underwear, looking like he just woke up.
Deputies asked Walker if his 3-year-old was missing.
"No, I have a 2-year-old," he said.
He searched his apartment, and couldn't find the boy. Walker said he didn't realize the boy woke up from a nap and had gone outside.
At a different home in Wellington, during a investigation launched by the Department of Children & Families, a detective noted that the kitchen sink overflowed with dirty dishes. The refrigerator held a lone pot of macaroni and cheese. Dirty laundry, boxes and toys blocked the bedroom doors.
In the bathroom, box cutters, burned matches, pill boxes and loose pills peppered the floor. The trash can held about a dozen syringes, their needles exposed.
A detective asked Michael Sakers, the father of two of the boys — ages 11 and 2 — when was the last time he shot any drugs.
About two and a half weeks, he said.
Detectives then noticed fresh track marks on the arms of both Michael, and his wife, Vicki.
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