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STATE TAKES KIDS FROM FILTHY HOME

A husband and wife were charged with child neglect Monday after authorities investigating a complaint of dangerous living conditions found five children in a home filled with trash and bugs.

Steven Schohl, 49, and Lisa Schohl, 34, were arrested about 12:30 p.m. on five felony charges of child neglect.

A Pinellas County Sheriff's Office arrest report said a deputy found three boys and two girls at the Schohls' home who were "dirty, had heat rash (and) bug bites."

Outside the home, which is in the 12700 block of 119th Street N, deputies found an overgrown lawn, trash and clutter.

Inside, deputies saw a "5- foot-high pile of filled garbage bags in the kitchen, dirty dishes piled on the counters, dirty clothing on the floors and insects throughout the residence," the Sheriff's Office said.

"Deputies described a foul odor coming from within the home," the Sheriff's Office said.

The children, who are between the ages of 5 and 13, were taken into state custody, said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda.

Tuesday afternoon, there were two scooters, a tricycle, two children's bikes and a clothes dryer in the front yard. Sheets hung in the home's windows, two of which were open and had torn screens.

Clora Bryant, 74, complained about her next-door neighbors. "The odor is so bad," she said. "I feel sorry for the kids."

The arrest report said the couple has four prior cases with the state Department of Children and Families. DCF spokesman Terry Field said he could not comment on the couple's prior involvement with the DCF or on events surrounding their recent arrest.

Jail records show both were arrested on child neglect charges in June 2007, but the charges were dropped. In that case, which occurred at a different address in Largo, a deputy said the Schohls' home was "filthy with old food, dirty laundry and cockroaches" and the "residence smelled horribly from outside."

None of the arrest reports disclose the nature of the relationship between the Schohls and the children.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the couple were in the Pinellas County Jail. Bail was set at $25,000 bail for each.

Rita Farlow can be reached at farlow@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4157.

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