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Parents charged after south county toddlers go missing for hours

June 25, 2014
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The parents of a pair of toddlers who wandered away from their Estero home Tuesday, resulting in an hours-long, multi-agency search before they were found, have been arrested.

Lee County sheriff's detectives have charged Rachel Davis, 28, Cole Thomas, 29, of 21450 S. Tamiami Trail, Trailer #19, with two counts of child neglect.

Both parents told investigators they were asleep yesterday when Innocence Davis, 3, and Caspian Thomas, 2, apparently walked out the front door sometime between noon and 1 p.m., officials said.

Article Photos

Innocence Davis

An intensive search was launched to find the children.

Innocence was found by Lee County deputies at 21450 Tamiami Trail between trailer numbers 2 and 3 at 5:56 p.m. Caspin wasn't found until nearly four hours later.

"Innocence was dehydrated and was covered with scratches and dirt but was otherwise not seriously injured," Lee County Sheriff's Office officials said in a prepared statement release Wednesday morning. " Innocence was transported to a local hospital for treatment."

Caspin had wandered approximately one mile from his house to 3600 Lansing Loop and was found at 9:47 p.m. outside Apt. 9.

"Caspin was also dehydrated and dirty with scratches on his body but was not seriously injured," officials said. "Caspin was transported to a local hospital for treatment."

Both children were released to the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families following medical evaluation, the release states.

"Throughout the ordeal, the children were exposed to severe heat which was reported at approximately 94 degrees as well as environmental exposure in the wooded area surrounding the children's residence. Caspin was wearing only a diaper and had fallen asleep when he was found," officials added.

Credit for finding the children safe and alive was credited to the efforts of multiple agencies who rallied to the hours-long search, including the Cape Coral Police Department.

Efforts began with deputies assigned to Road Patrol, K9, Marine Unit and Aviation Units before expanding to include other agencies, off-duty public safety personnel who volunteered and civilian volunteers.

"Thanks to the combined efforts of the Lee County Sheriff's Office, Estero Fire & Rescue, USAR (Urban Search And Rescue), FDLE, FBI, Collier County Sheriff's Office, Cape Coral Police Department, Naples Police Department, Hendry County Sheriff's Office, Lee County EOC, Lee County EMS, American Red Cross and Southwest Florida K9, both children have been found," a release issued at Tuesday night states. "They are alive and being evaluated by medical professionals.

"Special thanks also to Lee Tran, Suncoast Supplies, and Jimmy Johns for providing extra support with facilities and food to keep our forces strong. We had over 100 first responders that came to the scene to help, some of which were off-duty certified deputies and civilians.

"We also appreciate the outpouring of support from the community and our media partners for helping get the word out. "

Source: The Lee County Sheriff's Office.



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