SEBASTIAN – A 59-year-old man was arrested by the Sebastian Police Department on a charge of Felony Child Neglect after receiving a call from the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
On Thursday at approximately 11:10 a.m., DCF contacted police to assist them in their investigation after the 8-year-old child did return to school after being suspended for two days.
“There was concern for the amount of time the child was having to stay in her room and because the defendant would not be sending the child to school for the remainder of the week,” the officer said.
When the officer arrived at the residence, a DCF employee told law enforcement that there was no answer at the door after he knocked, but he could hear a child speaking.
The officer knocked on a bedroom window, and the child responded. She told police that her bedroom door was locked and no one was home. The child was unable to tell the officer how long she had been locked in the room.
The child told police that there was a bucket in the room used as a toilet. The officer observed a mattress and a few pieces of bedroom furniture in the room. The child told the officer she did have a bowl of cereal that morning. She did have access to clothing and appeared healthy and unharmed physically.
Police entered the home through a backdoor that was unsecured as DCF told law enforcement they would be taking the child. The child told the officer where the keys were in the house to unlock the bedroom door.
“When in the home I did notice that the doorknob for the bedroom was turned around so the locking mechanism was facing outside of the room and I had to unlock it to open the door,” the officer stated, in the report.
The child told police that this was the first time she was left alone at the residence while she was locked in her room. However, she still couldn’t tell the officer how long she had been in the room.
Dale Leonard Brownhill, of Sebastian, was contacted by police and returned home. He said the child was being punished by doing extra chores and was not allowed to leave her room.
Brownhill said he left the child locked in her room because he needed to run some errands. He believed she was of age to stay home by herself, and was not concerned about her being in her room during the time he was gone.
Brownhill was arrested on a charge of felony child neglect and transported to the Indian River County Jail.