GULFPORT, Fla. — A Florida police officer was patrolling a municipal beach early Saturday when he found three children, ages 3, 6 and 9 years old, inside a parked minibus, police said in a news release.
The children, who were found at 4:42 a.m., told a Gulfport police officer that their mother left them in the bus at about 9 p.m. Friday, according to the release.
“Gulfport marine patrol was launched to canvass the dozens of boats anchored just offshore, and officers located the mother, Andrea L. Kerins, onboard a vessel owned by a 46-year-old man named Yuri Radzibaba,” the release said.
Officers said Kerins, 33, had been smoking marijuana and intended to spend the night on the boat.
The children were left in the bus with nonrefrigerated, mostly perishable food, and they did not have access to a phone, police said.
The children are in the temporary custody of the Department of Children and Families, the news release said.
“The name on the bus, Meg’s Playhouse and Preschool, appears to be a defunct organization with which Kerins was not affiliated,” the release said.
Kerins was charged with three counts of felony child neglect, police said.