BROOKSVILLE — All six children had lice in their hair, some with infestations so bad they had rashes along their hairlines. Most of them had gone without a bath for days, if not weeks. Another had roach bites all over her back.
And the family's 6-month-old boy was drinking from a bottle "so dirty that it was black in color," the detective wrote in his report. Inside the bottle, a dead roach was floating around in liquid.
The couple, Timothy and Haley Covey of Brooksville, were both arrested April 30 on six counts of child neglect.
In Circuit Judge Stephen Rushing's courtroom Tuesday, the couple entered not guilty pleas to all of the charges.
Haley Covey, 28, appeared in court for her arraignment, where she asked for a reduction of her bail from $120,000 — $20,000 for each count.
Rushing granted the request, reducing her bail to $12,000 on the condition that she cooperate with the state Department of Children and Families and keep all of the children's doctor appointments.
Covey still was unable to make bail, and was returned to the county jail. Timothy Covey, 33, also remained behind bars in lieu of $25,000 bail.
According to the Brooksville police report, authorities were called to the Coveys' home in Morse's Meadow Mobile Home Park on the morning of April 30 in response to a report of abuse and neglect.
When they arrived at the home, detectives immediately noted that the home "was a clear danger to the children's health and well being."
The home smelled of "rotting food, cat urine and fecal matter" and was infested with roaches, according to the report.
"The odor was so severe that my gag reflex activated ... and I almost vomited," Detective Shawn Terry wrote.
Authorities offered a number of details from their search of the home: The house had no edible food or water; roaches — both dead and alive — were inside the refrigerator; human feces were on the floor and had apparently been walked through; the infant boy who was drinking from the bottle had a roach leg and other roach parts stuck to his eye.
Terry also noted that some of the children had already been removed from school for having lice.
Timothy Covey, whose occupation was listed as unknown, has twice been arrested in Hernando on domestic battery charges, but those were later dropped.
He was also taken to court in an eviction proceeding in 2006. That case was later dismissed.
Haley Covey has no prior criminal record. In her arrest report, she is listed as a "house mom."
Joel Anderson can be reached at email@example.com or (352) 754-6120.