PLANTATION, Fla. - A single mother says she is devastated after thieves ransacked her Plantation apartment and took the Christmas presents she bought for her children.
When Shina Jean Baptiste walked into her kids' room, she said she found the crooks had urinated on all their clothing and beds.
Her 3-year-old son Clifford and 7-year-old daughter A'Marie share a room in the apartment the single mother moved into just this past October.
Baptiste plans to toss every last item out. She told Local 10's Christina Vazquez she will not let her kids wear clothing someone else urinated on. It's disrespectful, the mother said.
"All of it is filled with urine. It's all moist," said Batiste. "So not only did you take Christmas from them, you stripped them from their innocence because now they are scared and then to top it off you urinate on their clothes? Who does that?"
Baptiste made the discovery after work Friday night.
The mother said burglars threw a rock through her bedroom window, leaving dirty footprints and shattered glass on her mattress.
It appears they cut themselves on the way in. Drops of blood are on a mattress and the walls and floor throughout the two bedroom apartment.
Baptiste said police collected DNA and fingerprints and hopes it is just a matter of time before they are caught.
But that doesn't change the reality that she now doesn't have any toys for her kids on Christmas, especially when she considers the cost of replacing the urine covered mattresses, a stolen computer, clothing and other items.
Being recently separated, Baptiste said she already knew it would be a tough Christmas for her kids, their first with out their father.
"He's a great father," she said.
Even cordial separations are never easy for children. Understanding this, Baptiste said she went out of her way to scrape together as much as she could for Christmas gifts. They were hidden in a bathroom hamper of the modest apartment she had just secured in October.
"I definitely felt violated," Baptiste said. "I felt as if someone came in my home and stripped me of everything I worked hard for. It's hard when you go through a separation and you are starting with nothing and you are trying to start over and someone just takes it away."
After hearing of her plight, a friend donated a black puppy for the kids, who call him "Lucky." The sweet pup seemed to be just about the only thing that could put a smile on her daughter's face.
"I can't wait to watch him grow-up with them," said Baptiste.
At three-years-old, Clifford is at an age when children are not always aware of the gravity of tough times.
On Saturday night, he danced around his mom.
"I've got a dog! I've got a dog," he said with a smile that beamed from ear to ear.
Baptiste smiled and said, "You are happy, why are you so happy?"
"Because it makes you happy," Clifford said while leaning in for a hug.
But her 7-year-old daughter A'Marie is sullen. She understands her Christmas presents are gone and is scared to stay in the apartment.
Baptiste said there's no doubt she felt devastated and at one point felt like she was going to break down. But when she looks at her kids, she knows she has to be strong for them, the mother said. That's why Baptiste said she's decided to turn this into a learning lesson.
Focusing her attention on A'Marie, she told her to put her chin up and have the courage to smile.
"Life must go on," Baptiste said to her children. "We're not going to give up and get down. We're going to fight harder. We're going to pray harder. We're going to work harder. We are going to be okay."
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