Duo wanted in Colleton child neglect case found in Florida

L to R: Garten and Shultz

ROUND O, S.C. (WCIV) - The man and woman wanted in a Colleton County child neglect case have been found.

According to officials, 30-year-old Charles Michael Garten, Jr. and 21-year-old Rebecca Joan Schultz were found in Walton Beach, Fla. Officials said they had no other details about the couple's arrest.

Department of Social Services and Colleton County Sheriff's officials took a 9-month-old baby into custody after finding him in what they described as deplorable conditions.

According to an incident report, authorities visited the Garten's home to check on the welfare of his infant son. The child's mother, Schultz, was found hiding in the closet. Deputies said she was not supposed to come in contact with her son due to a previous DSS order.

The reporting officer said the home was infested with fleas and roaches and that there were dog feces on the floor. The family dog was reportedly so aggressive, the officer said Garten had to restrain him while they inspected the home. They also report finding dirty dishes and trash throughout the home.

The officer noted that the child did not have a crib and that the mattress they were all sharing did not have sheets and was "covered in filth." They also reported finding drug paraphernalia in the bathroom.

When asked what the child was eating, deputies said Garten had to search for jars of baby food and that he admitted they were feeding him adult food because they did not have a way to go to the store.

The child reportedly had bruises on his leg, insect bites on his back, and appeared malnourished and lethargic. After a check up at the hospital, officials said the baby had injuries to his spine consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome and was at least 12 pounds underweight.

The infant was taken into emergency protective custody and DSS took custody of the child.

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