NEW PORT RICHEY, FL (WFLA) –
A judge ruled on Monday that two children pulled from a fire in Pasco County will not be able to go home with their parents.
5-year-old Kenneth Ledbetter and 6-year-old James Taylor were rescued from a home in Spring Hill Friday and airlifted to Tampa General Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, when the home caught on fire. Over the weekend, the children were taken into protective custody.
Their parents Tammie and Jesse Ledbetter said they were escorted out of the hospital by law enforcement.
Court documents said “the children appear to be malnourished and their teeth are rotting out of their mouths.”
“Both children were examined by doctors at Tampa General Hospital and found to be in the 1st percentile for weight-to-height,” court documents also revealed.
A judge decided to leave the children under state supervision. Both James and Kenneth will be evaluated for medical foster care. If they do not qualify they will be living with family members until the next court date on April 1st.
The court documents also revealed that the “children were previously removed from the parents” and that “they had a questionable ability to parent.”
The documents also said the mother had five previous children that were the subjects of involuntary termination of parental rights and another child that was voluntarily surrendered.
Both James and Kenneth were diagnosed with several medical conditions before the fire.”Cerebral palsy, autistic, ADHD, bi-polar, OCD,” said Tammie Ledbetter.
“Yes they are underweight because of all the medication, my whole family is under weight. They’re on Pediasure. They’re on boost. My kid would eat anybody out of house and home,” said Ledbetter.
“You just lose your house and everything you own and now they’re trying to take the kids away,” said Tammie’s brother-in-law James Bell.
“I’ll go ahead and grant the discretion for the department to look into some visitation while the children remain in the hospital. Again this will remain supervised visitation at all times for the present being,” said Judge Thomas Ramsberger.
“It’s like a nightmare. I still have nightmares from it,” said Jesse Ledbetter.