KISSIMMEE — First, two young children ages 6 and 2 were found wandering around alone at a Kissimmee motel. The people who found them, seemingly abandoned, called the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
It turns out there had been left unsupervised — for a reason. Deputies with the sheriff’s office would later arrest the children’s dad, Joseph Hannon, claiming he passed out in the motel room after using pot and other drugs.
Hannon was charged with child neglect, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of prescription pills without the actual prescription.
The investigation happened on Sunday around 8:40 a.m. when deputies responded to the Amber Inn Motel at 4624 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway (U.S. 192) in Kissimmee. Someone at the motel had called the sheriff’s office to say two young children were found walking around the property, alone.
The deputies were able to locate the motel room the children were staying in, reported Twis Lizasuain, public information officer for the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, in her report on the case.
“Deputies located their father, Hannon, in his motel room breathing but unresponsive,” Lizasuain noted. “They were unable to wake him up. Lying next to the bed were what appeared to be marijuana and prescription drugs.”
Deputies were able to track down the childrens’ mother, who was at work at the time. She came to the motel to pick them up, and told deputies she and Hannon didn’t live together, and “Hannon was supposed to be watching the children while she was working,” Lizasuain noted.
Hannon, 27, was arrested and taken to the Osceola County Jail.
Deputies say Hannon was living at the motel.
That section of U.S. 192 around Kissimmee has fallen on tough times in recent years, and many of the motels that once catered to tourists coming here on vacation have since become “extended stay” motels for people who reside there permanently because they can’t afford to rent a house or apartment.
Osceola County has estimated that there are nearly 1,000 children living at these motels, often with single mothers, who are classified as “homeless” or “living in transition” because they do not have a permanent residence. School buses make daily stops at these motels, picking up the children living there and transporting them to local schools like Westside K-8 Elementary.
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