Florida couple leave autistic son alone outside bar while they watch Super Bowl

Robert, Kristal Valenti 'really wanted the Eagles to win,' deputies say

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor
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Robert and Kristal Valenti were arrested on child neglect charges after deputies say they left their 6-year-old autistic son alone in a truck outside a bar while they watched the Super Bowl.

BUNNELL, Fla. - A Florida couple were arrested on Super Bowl Sunday after they left their 6-year-old autistic son outside a bar while they drank and rooted for the Philadelphia Eagles, according to an arrest affidavit.

Robert and Kristal Valenti face charges of child neglect without great bodily harm.

According to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office report, deputies were called to the Beer House in Bunnell after an anonymous caller reported that a couple left their child unattended in a truck outside the bar while they were watching the Super Bowl.

When deputies arrived and spoke with the boy's mother, she told them that she went to the bar to meet her husband and cheer for the Eagles in the Super Bowl.

A deputy wrote in the report that Kristal went on to talk about the Eagles and attempted to "fist bump" him.

Kristal told deputies that the bar wouldn't let the boy inside after 6 p.m., so she left him in the truck to watch YouTube videos and would periodically go outside to check on him, according to the report.

Deputies said Kristal initially claimed that she had been at the bar since the game started, but she later changed her story and said she arrived at halftime. 

"That's not abuse," she told deputies, according to the report.

Kristal went on to explain that she would be right inside if the boy needed anything and said she was only doing this "because it was the Super Bowl and she really wanted the Eagles to win."

She got her wish. The Eagles beat the New England Patriots 41-33 for their first Super Bowl win in franchise history.

Deputies said Robert later joined the conversation and said Kristal had been watching the boy. He claimed the boy "was never unsupervised."

A bartender who spoke to deputies said she witnessed the couple arrive shortly before the game started and saw Kristal leave the bar to check on the boy three or four times over the course of several hours.

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