CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Cape Coral Police have arrested the parents of an 11-year-old child and charged them with Child Neglect after they failed to seek proper medical care for an increasingly serious breathing problem.
The suspectswere apprehended Wednesday afternoon by the Lee County Sheriff's Warrant Task Force. The arrests came after the Cape Coral Police Department obtained warrants for their arrest, following a multi-month investigation.
The case unfolded on January 14, when Cape Coral police were contacted by the Department of Children and Family Services concerning an alleged medical neglect case.
According to authorities, "The child had been experiencing breathing difficulties for several years, and in the past 18 months, the symptoms had worsened. DCF indicated that since November, the child's cough had intensified to the point where the child had to lean forward to catch a breath.
"After Cape Police Detective Patricia Enterline became involved, [the parents] took the child to a doctor who diagnosed the condition as asthma. However, they failed to return the child for follow-up appointments and chose to treat the 11-year-old with over-the-counter Mucinex...During an interview, [the father] said the child's cough would clear up and then come back.
"After the initial doctor visit, [the child's father] said the medication required for treating asthma cost about $200, and they could not afford the prescriptions. "
Police claim the couple did have sufficient funds to care for the child; they believe that the parents opted to spend their money on other expenditures like a flatscreen television, thereby neglecting the child's medical needs.
As a result of their investigation, authorities sought a warrant, which was issued today, Wednesday, April 14, on charges of child neglect.