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Unresponsive Dunnellon men jailed for neglect after toddlers found near drugs

Richard William Taylor Jr.

Two Dunnellon men were arrested Friday after Marion County sheriff’s deputies found three toddlers in a residence with access to uncapped hypodermic needles and illegal drugs.

Dep. Calvin Pope and Dep. Angie Fitch responded to a Dunnellon residence to attempt to locate 28-year-old Richard William Taylor Jr., who was wanted in Marion County for petit theft and resisting a merchant. When deputies arrived at the residence, they found a 2‐year‐old child in a carport that had been fenced in, a sheriff’s office report states.

The child, who was wearing only a T‐shirt, no diaper, pants or shoes, indicated to the deputies that adults were inside the home. As Pope knocked on the door to attempt to make contact with the residents, Fitch reported hearing a baby crying inside the residence.

Deputies located an open door on the side of the residence and were
attempting to make contact with the residents when they discovered a second child who was wearing only a soiled diaper. After multiple attempts to get the attention of anyone inside the home by shouting and knocking, deputies entered the residence to check on the well-being of the crying baby, the report says.

William Goodman Johnson

Upon entry, the deputies located Taylor asleep in one bed. Johnson was asleep in another bedroom across the hall with a crying infant on the bed with him. Pope was able to awaken Taylor and take him into custody for his Marion County warrant. When asked if he had anything on him, Taylor provided deputies with a plastic bag containing heroin, the report says.

Fitch located approximately 25 used, uncapped hypodermic needles on a dresser in the hallway within reach of the toddlers. While waking Johnson, Fitch located an another 10 uncapped and used hypodermic needles on the dresser next to Johnson’s bed. She also found a piece of aluminum foil containing a brown substance that field tested positive for heroin and Fentanyl, the report says.

Taylor was arrested and charged with two counts of child neglect, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of drug paraphernalia, petit theft and resisting a merchant. He was being held on $10,000 bond and is due in court May 27 and June 16 to answer to the charges.

Johnson was arrested and charged with three counts of child neglect, possession of drug paraphernalia and a probation violation for driving while license suspended or revoked. He was being held on no bond for the probation violation and $7,000 bond on the remaining charges. He’s due in court June 16 and June 24 to answer to the charges.

“It’s despicable that two adults would sacrifice the safety of children to selfishly use illegal narcotics, and expose these children to those drugs,” Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said after the arrests. “I’m grateful my deputies were able to intervene and get these children into a safer environment.”

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