GULFPORT, Fla. (WFLA) — A mother has been arrested after her three children, ages 3, 6, and 9, were found unattended inside a mini school bus parked in the Gulfport municipal beach parking lot overnight.
Officer Christopher Priest found the bus around 4:42 a.m. during routine patrol. He said the children told him their mother left them in the bus around 9 p.m. the night before and went out on a boat.
Gulfport marine patrol searched the area and found the mother, Andrea L. Kerrins, 33, on-board a boat owned by a 46-year-old man. Police said she had been smoking marijuana and she said she intended to spend the night on the boat.
Inside the bus, officers found a bin of mostly perishable food with no cooler or refrigerator. There was a five gallon bucket near the front door that was designated as the toilet.
Kerins was charged with three counts of felony child neglect.
The Florida Department of Children and Families have taken custody of the children ‘for the time being,’ police said.
The name on the bus, Meg’s Playhouse and Preschool, appears to be a defunct organization with which Kerrins is not affiliated, the police department said.