We are learning more about the case of a 15-year-old girl who was found living in deplorable conditions. There may have been red flags, at least on outside, for years.
So, how is it that it took a school absence complaint to reveal what was happening inside?
There is a small, yet noticeable, difference from outside the Ladner Street home in Port St. Lucie.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said neighbor Jay Beal.
Items once scattered across the yard, are now in a neat pile, seemingly ready to be hauled away.
“It’s a shame that it came to law enforcement interviewing as well as social services,” said Beal.
What we don’t know is whether there’s been any effort to fix the much bigger problem inside.
Those deplorable conditions were discovered after DCF received a complaint that the teenager living in there had also missed 37 days of school.
She's now been removed from the home and her parents are facing criminal charges.
However, News Channel 5 has discovered code enforcement had this property on its radar for years.
We found several violations dating back to 2003.
The family was only living at the house for the last three years, according to police. However, city officials tell the house was last sold in 1994, so the violations that have been accruing belong to the same owner.
The most recent violation was handled by a judge just last week. This leaves many wondering why it took so long uncover the severity on the inside.
“Without being put on notice or being invited into the home that there are unsafe conditions in the home, we generally don’t have access,” said Carmen Capezzuto, the neighborhood services director with the City of Port St. Lucie.
Meanwhile, city officials are working to take swift action on the property moving forward.
The parents have bonded out of jail.