The Bizarre World of Florida

Parents arrested after leaving toddler alone in casino hotel. A gamble they shouldn’t make. August 17, 2012

The parents of a 20-month-old were arrested after allegedly leaving the boy  alone inside a Seminole Hard Rock Casino hotel room while the two went out for  dinner and drinks.

Natalie Fouche, 30, of Miami, and Albert Thomas Owens, 36, of Miramar, each  were charged with one count of cruelty toward a child and were ordered to remain  in jail on $1,000 bond.

Investigators with the Seminole Police said the child was left inside the  room for at least 45 minutes. Records show Tuesday was the father’s  birthday.

According to officials, the couple put the child to sleep on a bed and  unplugged the telephone so he wouldn’t be disturbed.

A casino security supervisor received an alert shortly before 7:30 p.m.  Tuesday indicating that a telephone was unplugged from a wall socket.

“That calls for an automatic security check as standard procedure,” said  police spokesman Gary Bitner.

The supervisor found the child sleeping on the bed and waited 20 minutes  before calling police, said Bitner.

The parents returned to the room at 8:05 p.m. and told officials they had had  gone to the casino to eat and drink. They admitted to police that the child was  left alone at least for 45 minutes, Bitner said.

The two were taken to Broward County Jail, where they were still being held  late Wednesday, according to records.

The child’s mother, a Broward College nursing student, said she only had  about $500 for bond. The father, who indicated he is unemployed, said he had no  money.

The child was released to the custody of a relative, said Paige  Patterson-Hughes, spokeswoman with the Florida Department of Children and  Families.

Broward Judge John “Jay” Hurley ordered that the parents have no contact with  the child until a hearing to decide custody issues. That hearing has not been  scheduled.


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