NEW PORT RICHEY — A woman who left her two children alone in a car in 38-degree weather while she went hog hunting in nearby woods in the Moon Lake area faces two charges of child neglect, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Kayla Marie Shavers, 31, of 9903 Lake Drive, New Port Richey, was booked at the Land O’ Lakes Jail where she was being held on $4,000 bond.
The children were a 9-year-old boy and a 6-month-old girl. The boy, who was wearing a long sleeve shirt but no jacket, called 911 about 7 a.m. Thursday and later told a deputy he made the call because he “thought it would be warmer in a police car,” the sheriff’s office reported.
“It’s crazy,” Sheriff Chris Nocco said. “There’s nothing else you can say other than, ‘What was she thinking?’ She can do a lot of thinking in the Land O’ Lakes Jail.”
Cpl. Sean Kennedy, one of the deputies who responded to the call, said it was still dark when they arrived. They tried to find Shavers after the boy said she was hunting in the woods, but couldn’t locate her, he said.
About 40 minutes later, she emerged wearing camouflage and unaware anything was amiss, he said. She told deputies she was hunting hogs because they were tearing up her property, Kennedy said.
Shavers said she was close enough to hear the children if they needed her, Kennedy said, but he said the deputies had their radios on and were talking for 40 minutes without her knowing they were there.
“She didn’t quite understand the severity of leaving the kids in the car,” Kennedy said.
He said it was clearly a risky thing to do.
“It was 38 degrees,” Kennedy said. “It was cold, it was dark and it was Moon Lake.”
The Moon Lake area has a reputation for crime and just the day before the body of a 20-year-old man who had been stabbed to death was found on the side of Moon Lake Road.
The boy told deputies the children had been left in the car under similar circumstances a couple of times before, Kennedy said.
Child protection investigators also participated in the case and the children were turned over to a relative, he said.