Mother charged with child neglect for leaving young children in bus overnight
GULFPORT, Fla. - A mother of three who was arrested in Gulport Saturday made first appearance Sunday morning. Andrea Kerrins is accused of leaving her kids alone on a mini school bus overnight while she partied with a friend.
Police found the bus parked just before 5 a.m. Saturday morning, and located three children, ages 3, 6 and 9, inside.
The kids told the officer their mother left them around 9 p.m. the night before.
Investigators found Kerrins on a boat anchored just offshore, and said she had been smoking marijuana and planned on spending the night on the boat.
Related: Mother left 3 young children alone in school bus overnight in Gulfport parking lot, police say
Kerrins made her first appearance at the Pinellas County Courthouse via video, and listened as the Assistant State Attorney assigned to the case described the conditions in which her children were left.
"The children were seen dirty, half-dressed," the attorney stated. "They report that they have not been washed regularly. They expressed that they had not been fed dinner and that they were hungry."
Police said the children did not have access to a phone to call their mother or call for help.
According to officers, there was a bin of mostly perishable food inside the car that had been left unrefrigerated, a five-gallon bucket that was designated as a makeshift toilet and a propane tank inside the car. Officers said the children had no clothing in addition to what they were wearing.
Kerrins faces three counts of child neglect and is being held on $30,000 bond.
If she makes bail, Kerrins will be limited to weekly supervised visits with her children, who are in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families. Any further visitation will be decided in a separate hearing.