BROOKSVILLE — Nedra Byrd laughed when a deputy came to her house late Thursday night and asked whether she knew why a 10-year-old boy in her care would be walking naked in the neighborhood, authorities say.
"He's in his room," Byrd replied, according to a Hernando Sheriff's Office arrest report.
The deputy asked her if she had been drinking.
"Yeah, I'm drunk as hell," Byrd, 31, reportedly said, then sat down on the couch and fell asleep.
Investigators learned that the boy was also under the influence of alcohol because, he said, Byrd had given him shots of brandy.
Deputies arrested Byrd shortly before midnight and charged her with one count of child neglect.
The arrest report gives this account:
A neighbor on Bayside Court saw the boy walking down the street naked, brought him to another neighbor's house and put clothes on him. The neighbors went to Byrd's home at 9639 Bayside and knocked on the door, which was slightly ajar. Finding Byrd asleep on the couch, they returned to the home where the boy was and waited for a deputy to arrive.
Deputy Christopher Owens went to Byrd's house and found a man sitting on the couch with Byrd asleep beside him. The man told the deputy he had just checked on the boy in his bedroom.
It took a couple of minutes to wake Byrd, who had alcohol on her breath and appeared intoxicated, authorities said.
The boy told investigators that Byrd had given him four shots of brandy. He said he was walking outside because he heard a noise and thought it was his friend, but he couldn't remember anything after that. Owens asked if the boy had consumed alcohol before, and the boy said yes.
The boy, whose relationship to Byrd was not disclosed, was taken to Spring Hill Regional Hospital, where a blood test showed his alcohol level to be .108. Florida law presumes a driver to be impaired when the blood alcohol content is .08.
The Florida Department of Children and Families was called to investigate.
Byrd told Owens the boy would "never touch my bottle of brandy." The deputy noted a half-empty bottle of Christian Brothers brandy and a shot glass on the kitchen counter.
Byrd was released from Hernando County Detention Center on Friday afternoon after posting $1,000 bail, records show. A Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said the boy was recovering well.
Byrd was arrested in 2008 and charged with misdemeanor battery, Hernando County court records show. The charge was dropped when she entered a pre-trial diversion program.
The following year, Byrd pleaded no contest to possessing a medicinal drug without a prescription. The court withheld adjudication and gave her six months of probation, records show.
News researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Reach Tony Marrero at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1431. Follow him on Twitter @TMarreroTimes.