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Miami Gardens couples arrested after rats found crawling around home with young children inside

Police say children were living in deplorable conditions, with no food in fridge

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Two Miami Gardens couples were arrested on child neglect charges Monday after their young children were found living in deplorable conditions inside their home, authorities said.

Police said they were initially called to the home in the 3000 block of Northwest 164th Street in response to a sick child.

Officers found seven young children inside the home, along with roaches, feces on the floor and soiled diapers thrown all over the front yard, police said.

According to an arrest report, there was no food in the refrigerator, there were rats crawling around the home and the toilet was filthy.

Police said it appeared that the children had not eaten for several days and the oldest child told officers that he could not remember when was the last time he ate.

Police said investigators with the Department of Children and Families tested Miosotiz Barbara Rodriguez, 28, and Hugo Zuniga, 31, for drugs, and both tested positive for marijuana. Rodriguez also tested positive for cocaine, and Zuniga's test came back inconclusive for cocaine.

The couple was each arrested on five counts of child neglect.

Rolando Arteaga, 44, and Zuniga's sister, Jacqueline Garcia-Zuniga, 25, who are the parents of two of the children, were arrested on two counts of child neglect. Authorities said one of the couple's children was taken to Jackson North Medical Center with a fever and mouth blisters. 

Investigators said the couple also tested positive for marijuana and cocaine.

All seven of the children were removed from the home. 

A case worker held back tears Tuesday at a shelter hearing for the children, telling a judge that the children had roaches crawling over them, and that she couldn't find them shoes to wear while taking them out of the home.

The case worker said DCF previously investigated Rodriguez in 2014 on allegations that also involved her children's living conditions.

The judge ordered that all of the children remain in foster care until home studies are conducted for relatives who wish to be granted custody of the children.

The relatives hoping to be granted custody must also pass a drug test Tuesday.


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