Delray Beach police rescue children after woman holds them on building ledge

Officers find woman with children on second-floor ledge

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – Delray Beach Police Department officers released video Wednesday of a 23-year-old woman who they believe was putting her two children in danger. 

The barefoot woman, a shirtless 3-year-old girl wearing leggings and a 1-year-old boy wearing only diapers were on the narrow rain-soaked ledge of the second floor of a townhouse --- about 15 to 20 feet above the ground. 

Officers Rob Addea and Matt Warne arrived and stood under the ledge, fearing it was slippery on the rainy Saturday afternoon.

"Just get the kids back inside," Addea said. "Please! Please! That's all we want you to do." 

The woman didn't. Sgt. Mike Debree and Sgt. Brian Griffith walked inside the townhouse and they both climbed out of a window to get onto the ledge.

"It's OK. It's OK. We are the police. We are here to help," Debree said as he walked toward the woman who was holding on to the little girl. 

Debree held the children's arms.

"I want to see your badge," the woman said as the barefoot children cried in fear shouting, "Mommy." 

One of the officers showed her his badge. 

"Are you a sergeant?" The woman said. "No, it doesn't say sergeant ... Point blank, body avenger!"

Officers separated the children from the woman and got them safely inside the townhouse. They managed to do the same with the woman, who was committed to a mental health facility.

The Florida Department of Children and Families took custody of the children.

DBPD child rescue

DBPD officers stepped into a precarious situation after multiple people called 911 to report that a woman and two children were on a roof. Officers arrived just after 4 p.m. Saturday, May 19 and quickly became aware of the frightening scenario they faced. A 23-year-old woman, acting erratically and refusing to listen to officers’ commands, was perched on a narrow ledge over the garage of a townhouse about 15-20-feet above the ground. A 1-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl stood with her. Officer Rob Addea immediately positioned himself under the window, ready to catch a child or the woman if necessary. He pleaded with her to get the children off the narrow, rain-soaked ledge. “Just get the kids back inside” Addea said. “Please. Please. That’s all we want you to do.” Officer Matt Warne joined him. At the same time, Sgt. Mike Debree and Sgt. Brian Griffith arrived, went in through the front door, up to the second floor, through a bedroom and out the window onto the ledge. Worried that the children would fall or be pushed, Sgt. Debree got ahold of each child’s arm. Sgt. Griffith tried to reason with the agitated and seemingly paranoid young woman, even showing her his badge to reassure her that he was a law enforcement officer, to no avail. Other DBPD officers were able to open the window of an adjoining townhouse, and Sgt. Debree walked the frightened children several feet along the ledge and handed them through the window to the waiting officers. Sgt. Griffith and several officers then lifted the woman through a window to safety. She was committed to a mental health facility under Florida’s Baker Act. She may face criminal charges once released. Florida’s Department of Children and Families is conducting an investigation and has taken custody of the children.

Posted by Delray Beach Police Department on Wednesday, May 23, 2018

About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.