Former JPD officer, wife arrested in Fla.
by Ron Harris
Mar 05, 2014 | 11586 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A former Jasper police officer and his wife were arrested over the weekend in Florida after the couple’s three children were found walking through the woods looking for help.

Michael Scott Butcher, 30, and his wife, Sarah, 30, were taken into custody Friday night in Punta Gorda, Fla., and each charged with child neglect. The couple — who initially claimed to be brother and sister — were also charged with loitering and prowling and possession of crystal methamphetamine.

According to reports from ABC 7 in Fort Myers, Fla., the Butchers were causing a disturbance at Water’s Edge Resort, an RV park just outside the city.

The report said it didn’t take long before the neighborhood knew the Butchers didn’t belong there.

“The young man seemed to be quite agitated,” witness Arthur Giasson told a reporter from ABC 7. “Talking in a loud manner and just acting strangely.”

Giasson said he went outside to lock up his four-wheeler when he noticed a woman standing by the trailers, as a man walked down the street and allegedly started banging on peoples’ doors asking to be let inside. A resident called the neighbordhood’s security guard.

“The dome light [of their vehicle] was on but no one was there,” the guard said in the report. “Then, I heard a voice and said, ‘Hey you two!’”

The guard called 911 after the Butchers refused to leave the area.

“He was high,” said the security guard. “He was on something, that’s for sure.”

The Butchers were arrested for loitering and prowling and meth possession.

During their booking process, the report said, the jail received a phone call from another deputy. He had found three children claiming the Butcher’s were their parents. The children were found abandoned in woods not far from the RV park.

“I didn’t even know they had three kids,” said witness Karen Taylor. “This is the first I heard they had three kids. And to drop your kids off in the woods and just... it’s... it’s awful.”

Deputies said the Butcher family was apparently living out of a truck filled with syringes and old food. The report didn’t say how long the children had been wandering around in the woods, but that they were “very dirty, hungry and cold.”

“That’s terrible these young children have to put up with a couple of parents that are that neglecting of them,” said Giasson. “Some people just don’t deserve children. I hope they get the proper care.”

The children, ages 6, 8 and 10, are now in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Their parents are being held at the Charlotte County Jail without bond.