Florida Man Arrested After Girl, 3, Eats 'Spice'

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A St. Petersburg man was arrested by detectives from the Crimes Against Children Unit after a 3-year-old girl in his care ate his synthetic marijuana, also known as “spice.”

The suspect, C. Lee Clark, 45, was carrying spice in his pocket on Saturday, January 9, 2016, according to investigators. At some point on Saturday, the three-year-old girl removed the spice from Clark’s pocket and ingested it.

The detectives told NBC 8 that the girl became progressively sicker throughout the evening. She started vomiting and by Sunday morning, she was lethargic and unresponsive. Concerned about the little girl’s state, Clark called 911 late Sunday morning.

Emergency responders took the girl to All Children’s Hospital to treat life-threatening injuries, NBC 8 reported.

The detectives said that Clark admitted to purchasing the spice; he also said that he knew the girl had eaten it. Through the investigation, the detectives on the case discovered that on at least two occasions, the suspect had smoked spice while the three-year-old child was in his care and custody.

Clark was arrested and taken to Pinellas County Jail; he faces child neglect charges.

Detectives told NBC 8 that the child is expected to survive.

What are the penalties for child neglect?

Child abuse and neglect are covered under Section 827.03 of the Florida Statutes. Under Florida’s child neglect law, a person who by culpable (deserving blame) negligence neglects a child and causes great bodily harm, commits of felony of the second degree, punishable by:

  • Up to 15 years in prison
  • A fine not to exceed $10,000

Under Florida law, “neglect of a child” means a caregiver’s failure to provide a child with proper supervision, care, and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental health.

This includes but is not limited to food, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical treatment that are essential to the child’s well-being.

If you are facing child neglect or drug-related charges, contact a Tampa criminal defense lawyer from Thomas & Paulk, P.A. for aggressive defense representation!