Neighbors of mother charged with child abuse say babysitters not allowed at apartment complex

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by Nick Ochsner, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on June 26, 2013 at 7:25 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 26 at 7:30 PM

SUFFOLK -- Residents of an apartment complex where a mother was charged with child abuse claim the property management might share a role in the blame.

The residents cite a policy that prohibits unsupervised guests on the property and prevents them from bringing babysitters to their apartments.

Acting on an anonymous tip, police went to the home of 25-year-old Lakeisha Danielle Myrick Sunday. Officers say they found two children unattended at the Heritage Acres Apartments on Nansemond Parkway.

Police say the officers knocked on the door of the apartment, which was opened by a 3-year old girl.

Officers said they could see another 2-year old female standing nearby and not wearing any clothes.

Police say the officers found the place to be "unkempt with bug infestation and food on the floors."

According to police reports, the children's mother eventually returned to the apartment. Child Protective Services responded and the children were turned over to their grandmother.

Myrick was charged with two counts of abuse and neglect of children and two counts of cruelty to children.

However, tenants at the Heritage Acres complex tell 13News "nobody" is allowed inside an apartment at Heritage Acres without the tenant being present, not even to babysit children of family members while the tenant is at work or running errands.

Danielle Valenti, a resident at the Heritage Acres, said the management there told her that her mother-in-law wasn't allowed to watch her children.

"The only babysitter that I have can only come out to me, I can't go out to her," Valenti told 13News. "So I don't really know what I'm gonna do."

Neighbors showed 13News a copy of the apartment complex's policies and procedures, which states tenants can be "evicted" for allowing guests to be unsupervised on the property.

13News asked the apartment manager if the policy barring unsupervised guests applies to babysitters but she declined to answer our questions.

A spokeswoman for PK Management, which manages Heritage Acres, said she was unfamiliar with the policy but that she would look into it.

"I really don't have any family out here, so I can't really afford a babysitter," said resident Angela Brady who is in school to get a nursing degree after leaving the Army. Brady said the rule has affected her ability to continue her education.

"My mom would come to my house to let her in so she won't be outside, she's just four, but since that rule, I had to drop the class," said Brady.

Our questions about the apartment's policy have caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the complex because it recieves federal subsidies.

A spokesman for HUD said the department is contacting the management company to see whether or no the residents' complaints are true.

Danielle Valenti, the mother of two, said she hopes the policy can be changed.

"They're just trying to protect us, I understand that. But there needs to be some kind of give and take."

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