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Pet snake leads Jacksonville parents to be charged with child abuse

By Mahsa Saeidi, Reporter
Published On: Dec 03 2012 08:49:38 AM CST
Updated On: Dec 03 2012 10:20:58 PM CST
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JACKSONVILLE -

Jacksonville Police charged Jeremy Lawrence, 24, and Ashley Galicia, 20, both of Jacksonville, with misdemeanor child abuse Sunday.

The parents are accused of leaving their two-year-old boy in the same room as a four foot snake and also allowing the child to wander away from the home.  That's according to court documents.

The incident happened at a residence located on the 200 block of Court Street in Jacksonville Sunday morning.

Court documents state that Lawrence and Galicia allegedly left the back door accessible for the child to open and walk outside unattended.

"He pulled the chair up to the door, unlocked it and got out," said Galicia, mother of the two-year-old child.

Galicia said she been sleeping and didn't hear her child leave the home.  A short time later, a passerby found the the child across the street, near a creek and called 911.

Galicia said the incident was a mistake and that she realizes her child could have been harmed.

"Police came and checked the house out," said Galicia.  That's when investigators found a four foot snake inside the home. "They got extremely mad because I have a four foot boa," said Galicia, "and they said that was endangering my child even though it [the cage] is locked."

Galicia said her snake is well-fed and not aggressive.  Additionally, Galicia said she's taken steps to ensure that the snake does not get out of its cage.

"I got the really strong duck tape and wrapped it around the tank," said Galicia. "That way him nor my son could pull the lid off of it."

Bond was set at $500 each for both parents.  They are scheduled to be back in front of an Onslow County Judge on January 16. 

Family members said the parents are not allowed to be with the child without supervision.  Galicia's mom, Gena Galicia, has temporary custody of her child.