Autistic boy found wandering PSL streets

By Peter Schaller - email

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL (WFLX) -  An Autistic boy is found wandering the streets of Port St. Lucie alone. A neighbor spotted the boy in the road and called 911.

When the parents finally made it home, they were greeted by police officers and tough questions. Some neighbors say this fallout was a long time coming.

The four children were found all by themselves: kids babysitting kids. Police are calling these siblings victims of child neglect.

A 10-year-old boy, twin 4-year-old-girls and their Autistic 5-year-old brother were left alone according to police. The breaking point for neighbors happened Sunday when they found the Autistic boy out in the street fending for himself.

"He was just out here screaming and roaming around just like he always does, because he can't really talk," neighbor Angelique Lopez said.

Lopez, a mother herself, has seen it all before at the house on Grimaldo Terrace.  No parents and questionable conditions are common according to her. "Usually, I see them outside running around in just a shirt and panties or a shirt and underwear or just underwear."

Police say the parents left after breakfast putting the oldest son in charge of the impossible.  He was babysitting his three younger siblings, one of them needing special attention.

Tom Nichols, Port St. Lucie Police Department spokesman, said, "That's a lot of responsibility for a 10-year-old."

Police say this is crystal clear: The Autistic 5-year-old shouldn't have been left alone with a 10-year-old. What isn't so cut and dry, however, is the story given by the parents when they pulled up into the driveway. "The only account they gave was they went to the pharmacy and to a garage sale, but they were only gone for 10 minutes," said Nichols. "Which is not true because we were on scene for more than an hour."

Karla and Nelson Vasquez arrested. They now face child neglect charges. It was a neighbor across the street who called police. The street just couldn't turn a blind eye any longer.

"I'm glad someone called DCF if it gets better for the kids," said Lopez.

The four kids are now being cared for by DCF. Police estimate the kids were left alone a total of two hours without supervision.