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Toddler found outside Tarpon Springs apartment naked, holding a knife

TARPON SPRINGS — A 23-year-old woman was arrested on charges of child neglect after a 3-year-old boy in her care was found naked and playing with a large steak knife outside of an apartment building, police say.

According to an arrest report, Tarpon Springs police arrived at the home of April E. Stern at 516 St. Michaels Way at 7:43 a.m. Tuesday after receiving an anonymous tip and found the boy holding the knife in the parking lot. The report said he was not wearing any clothes and had discarded his dirty diaper in front of the apartment, next to a collection of empty bottles of alcohol.

Police found the door to Stern's apartment partially open. The apartment was "extremely filthy, unsanitary and a hazard to any children living at the residence," police spokeswoman Barb Templeton said.

According to the report, when police entered Stern's bedroom, they found her sound asleep as an alarm clock blared. The clock had been ringing for more than two hours, officers determined. A 3-month-old boy was sleeping in a playpen at the foot of Stern's bed.

After police awoke Stern, she said she had been drinking the night before and was usually a sound sleeper, the report said.

Police cannot say whether Stern is the mother of the children, but she was the primary caregiver, Templeton said.

Wednesday afternoon, Stern was being held at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail. Both children were put in the care of a family member, Templeton said.

In addition to child neglect, Stern also was charged with violation of probation. In November 2009, Stern was among 23 people arrested on various drug charges at a local strip club as part of "Operation Adult Use," a six-month undercover operation conducted by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Martine Powers can be reached at mpowers@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4224.

Toddler found outside Tarpon Springs apartment naked, holding a knife 07/14/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 7:45pm]
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