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Parents of toddlers missing for eight hours arrested for felony child neglect

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The parents of two young children who went missing for eight hours on June 24 in Estero, Fla. have been arrested on charges of felony child neglect. The two toddlers, two-year-old Caspian Thomas and his three-year-old sister, Innocence Davis, wandered out of their parents’ mobile home sometime between noon and 1 p.m. on Tuesday while the parents were in bed sleeping. The parents, Racheal Davis, 28 and Cole Michael Thomas, 29, were arrested and charged the day following the intensive search for the two missing children.

The search for the missing youngsters stretched past twilight and into the late night hours on Tuesday, according to The Naple News. The children got separated after leaving their trailer. The little girl was found first, around 6:30 p.m.

A 14-year-old neighbor at the mobile home park said he saw a deputy carry Innocence from the woods wrapped in a blanket. The neighbor said that Innocence “had no shoes or shirt, and her back and arms were red with scratches.” Innocence was found only about 500 feet away from her trailer, “though it's unclear how far she might have wandered,” according to the sheriff’s office.

The search intensified in the area as the two-year-old boy was still missing. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office said that they had about 100 emergency responders in the area trying to find Caspian. Representatives and agents from the FBI, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Estero Fire Rescue, Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Hendry County Sheriff’s Office and the American Red Cross came from across the state to help in the search.

The little boy wasn’t found until almost four hours later. Just before 10 p.m., Caspian was spotted outside of a nearby apartment building about a quarter-mile away from his home. He was found outside, asleep, and wearing only a diaper.

Both children were dehydrated, dirty and covered with scratches after spending several hours in 90 degree-plus heat, but neither was seriously injured. They were treated and released into custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families [DCF].

This won’t be the mother’s first encounter with DCF. The agency reported having prior involvement with Davis, most recently in 2012. DCF visited the children’s home following this latest episode and said that the home “was in deplorable condition.”

Davis also received low grades as a mom from her ex-husband, Dale Davis, who lives in Georgia with three other children that the mom and her ex had together. The ex-husband said that Davis’ “neglectful ways" ultimately led to the couple’s divorce in 2009 after having been married for five years. The ex-husband also said that in addition to Innocence, Caspian, and the three children in Georgia, that Davis “has two other children who are living with her relatives in Georgia and north Florida.”

“That’s one of the reasons we split up,” he said. “I had evidence to prove she’s not a fit mother.”

The News-Press reported that Davis and Thomas were arrested in the early morning hours of June 25 and were both charged with two counts of child neglect without great bodily harm. Davis is being held on $10,000 bond, while Thomas got a $20,000 bond due to a prior criminal history.