Child Neglect

Deputies OK after Clermont woman sprays them with chemical during well-being check

CLERMONT, Fla.—Four Lake County Sheriff’s Office deputies are OK after being doused with a substance Friday by a woman while they performed a well-being check, according to an arrest affidavit.

Deputies arrived at an apartment in unincorporated Clermont after a father requested a well-being check on his small child. The child’s age and address are redacted from the affidavit.

They attempted to contact Crystal Lorraine Velez, 36, at her apartment and she did not answer the door. They found the door was unlocked but barricaded and “due to concerns for persons inside the apartment” they removed the barricade, entered the apartment and began announcing themselves and clearing a path through the apartment that was flooded with water and cluttered, according to the affidavit.

They found one of the bedroom doors was locked and as they forced entry, they heard a woman screaming and a small child cooing or crying. They partially entered the room and Velez began “dousing” them with an unknown chemical from a spray bottle, believed to be a chemical degreaser. Velez was tased by a deputy and other deputies secured the child, and she was given to her father. Velez was taken into custody and the four deputies were taken to South Lake Emergency Room, where they were treated and released.

Velez was arrested for four counts of battery on a law enforcement officer and transported to the Lake County Jail.

Detectives spoke with a deputy who went into the apartment and the deputy said they could barely walk through the apartment because there was so much clutter. They spoke with the child’s father who said he left Velez approximately three months ago because of her mental health and the apartment was clean and orderly when he left. Detectives were also able to observe the child with her father, who “appeared healthy and happy,” the affidavit states.

Detectives secured a search warrant for the home and when they entered, they found every piece of furniture was overturned, every appliance was disconnected, including a moldy refrigerator. Windows were open, with only small objects or screens that could be easily moved or pushed by a small child. There was little food in house and every water source was turned on, causing the carpet to be saturated with water while every other floor had standing water, the detective noted.

Detectives determined Velez failed to provide the child with proper care and supervision and she was also charged with child neglect, in addition to the four counts of battery on a law enforcement officer. She continues to be held in LCJ on $10,000 bond.

Deputies OK after Clermont woman sprays them with chemical during well-being check Read More »

Owner of Popular Dance Studio Accused of Leaving Girl, 6, in Hot Vehicle Last Summer

UMATILLA, Florida—The owner of a popular dance studio with locations in Umatilla and Mount Dora was arrested at her home in Altoona Monday for child neglect, according to Lake County Clerk of Court Records.

Jolene Amy Coates, 51, owner of Dance Depot was picked up on the warrant by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office stemming from an incident in June 2022. The warrant was a direct file from Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney William “Bill” Gladson’s office May 10.

According to the information filed in the warrant, Coates, “while being responsible for the welfare of the (undisclosed victim)” left a child unsupervised in a hot vehicle with temperatures above 90 degrees. The child’s name is redacted from one copy of the document, and Inside Lake is not releasing her name. It is unclear what relationship Coates had to the girl, who was 6 years old at the time.

Details in the public record are limited and Inside Lake was tipped off to the arrest after business hours Wednesday.

According to Coates’ arrest affidavit, she was arrested at her home in Altoona Monday afternoon and transported to the Lake County Jail, where she was released on $2,000 bond.

Dance Depot’s website lists Coates as the owner/director and states she teaches princess classes, combination classes and works with Revolution, the performance company. The studio also offers a summer camp, according to its website.

Owner of Popular Dance Studio Accused of Leaving Girl, 6, in Hot Vehicle Last Summer Read More »

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