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Two Arrested for Crimes Against Children, Animals

For Immediate Release : Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
Release Number: 24-64


Thursday March 21, 2024 4:28 PM


Two Arrested for Crimes Against Children, Animals

The Hillsborough Sheriff's Office has arrested a mother for child neglect and a man for animal cruelty.

On March 19, 2024, deputies responded to a report from a mother about her missing endangered child, who had disappeared from their residence. The mother was unable to provide a precise timeline but indicated that she hadn't seen him.

On March 20, 2024, detectives located the child at his school, where he was successfully recovered. During the interview with our detectives, the child informed detectives that he had been away from home for three days.

Throughout the investigation into the missing juvenile, detectives uncovered alarming conditions in the child’s home. The house was without both electricity and running water. Furthermore, the dwelling was in a deplorable state, infested with flies and cockroaches, while the floors were contaminated with fecal matter.

In total, four children lived in the home, under the care of Tania Rodriguez, 31. All the children have since been removed from the home and placed with family. 

In addition to the terrible conditions of the home, multiple dogs were found inside the house in severely malnourished conditions.

On March 20, 2024, the mother of the missing juvenile, Tania Rodriguez, was charged with four counts of Child Neglect. The homeowner and roommate, Aaron Edwards, 19, was charged with two counts of Animal Cruelty.

"Child neglect is not just a crime; it is a betrayal of the most important purpose we have as parents, to protect our children," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "I commend our detectives for their diligent and thorough work in this investigation. They went above and beyond, showing professionalism, deep compassion, and empathy to ensure the safety of our most vulnerable.”

This investigation is ongoing; any details will come from the Public Affairs Office.

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