Sheriff: Couple arrested in Keys after toddler found covered in roaches

Zachary Sousa Engren, 22, and Jillian Larae Meyers, 20. (MCSO)

MARATHON, Fla. – Deputies in the Florida Keys arrested a Fort Myers couple on child abuse and drug charges after they found a 2-year-old boy in “squalid” conditions, authorities said Wednesday.

Monroe County deputies cuffed Zachary Sousa Engren, 22, and Jillian Larae Meyers, 20, following a traffic stop on U.S. 1 in Marathon late Tuesday night.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Adam Linhardt said deputies had been following the Chevrolet sedan, driven by Engren, after receiving reports of a reckless driver.

After pulling the couple over, deputies encountered a “filthy” vehicle “laden with used food containers, clothes, and trash,” Linhardt said. They also found boxes of reptiles and insects in the trunk, he said.

Linhardt said deputies saw a 2-year-old boy sitting in a car seat, smelling of feces and covered in cockroaches.

A 24-year-old man was also in the car.

“Both suspects said the child was in their care and stated they had diapers, but deputies found no diapers in the car,” Linhardt said. “Both gave conflicting stories as to when the child last ate. All three adults said they were living in the vehicle.”

Deputies also found a .40-caliber Glock handgun under the passenger seat as well as marijuana, both real and synthetic, in the vehicle, Linhardt said.

The 24-year-old, who was not arrested, told deputies the three were in the Keys to “collect reptiles and insects,” according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies placed the boy into the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

About the Author:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.