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Couple Accused Of Leaving 8-Year-Old Girl In Reach Of Drug Paraphernalia In Cockroach-Infested House: Deputies

child neglect suspects
Source: Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office

May 25 2022, Published 3:33 p.m. ET

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A Florida couple is accused of child neglect after they were arrested and an 8-year-old girl at their home told deputies she had been home alone, authorities said.

Around 6 a.m. on May 23, Paul Austin Griner and Rachel Elaine Griner got into a physical altercation while driving in a Hyundai Sonata and nearly hit a deputy, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said, WKRG reported.

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The deputy stopped the couple and identified Rachel Griner, 44, as the driver but noted she had moved to the passenger seat, according to the sheriff’s office.

The couple, who refused to exit the vehicle, were eventually taken into custody and deputies noted a clear bag of what allegedly turned out to be meth fell from 41-year-old Paul Griner’s shorts, authorities said.

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During the investigation, an arrest report claims, Rachel Griner stated she needed to “get back to my kid” and deputies performing a wellbeing check at the couple’s home in Fort Walton Beach located the little girl sleeping in the residence, where there was allegedly drug paraphernalia within her reach as well as a cockroach infestation.

The girl allegedly told deputies she last saw her parents the evening before and wasn’t aware they hadn't been at the trash-filled home.

According to the sheriff’s office, Rachel Griner claimed she was out searching for her husband the prior evening.

Both Rachel and Paul Griner face charges of child neglect and resisting an officer, while Paul Griner was also charged with drug possession, according to online records.

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