Video: Officers save woman, 2 toddlers from apartment ledge

Police said the woman was emotionally disturbed and unpredictable

By PoliceOne Staff

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Recently released body cam footage shows Florida officers rescuing a woman and her two toddlers perched on a narrow ledge of an apartment building.

On Saturday, Delray police were called about a woman and her two children, who were half-naked, on a one-foot ledge as rain trickled down, the Palm Beach Post reported. Police said the woman was emotionally disturbed and unpredictable.

“I could tell right away she wasn’t in touch with reality,” said Officer Rob Addea, the first officer at the scene of the incident.

Addea and Sergeants Brian Griffith and Mike Debree worked to get the toddlers to safety knowing the children could fall about 15 to 20 feet. Debree shuffled across the ledge while dangerously close to the edge, which was wet from the rain.

DBPD child rescue

DBPD officers stepped into a precarious situation after multiple people called 911 to report that a woman and two children were on a roof. Officers arrived just after 4 p.m. Saturday, May 19 and quickly became aware of the frightening scenario they faced. A 23-year-old woman, acting erratically and refusing to listen to officers’ commands, was perched on a narrow ledge over the garage of a townhouse about 15-20-feet above the ground. A 1-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl stood with her. Officer Rob Addea immediately positioned himself under the window, ready to catch a child or the woman if necessary. He pleaded with her to get the children off the narrow, rain-soaked ledge. “Just get the kids back inside” Addea said. “Please. Please. That’s all we want you to do.” Officer Matt Warne joined him. At the same time, Sgt. Mike Debree and Sgt. Brian Griffith arrived, went in through the front door, up to the second floor, through a bedroom and out the window onto the ledge. Worried that the children would fall or be pushed, Sgt. Debree got ahold of each child’s arm. Sgt. Griffith tried to reason with the agitated and seemingly paranoid young woman, even showing her his badge to reassure her that he was a law enforcement officer, to no avail. Other DBPD officers were able to open the window of an adjoining townhouse, and Sgt. Debree walked the frightened children several feet along the ledge and handed them through the window to the waiting officers. Sgt. Griffith and several officers then lifted the woman through a window to safety. She was committed to a mental health facility under Florida’s Baker Act. She may face criminal charges once released. Florida’s Department of Children and Families is conducting an investigation and has taken custody of the children.

Posted by Delray Beach Police Department on Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Debree managed to grab the two children while their mother clung to them and refused to let go. The sergeant was able to usher them to the nearest window while Griffith restrained the mother while still sitting on the ledge.

Griffith eventually pulled the mother to safety even as she resisted. Police said no one was hurt during the incident.

Police said it isn’t clear what led up to the moment the 23-year-old mother took her 1-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter onto the ledge. The mother was forcibly committed to a mental health hospital while her children are in the care of the state’s Department of Children and Families.

The mother told officers that she took a “molly,” a pure powder form of ecstasy, and was hallucinating. No charges were filed against her, but the case is still open, police said.

According to the police report, it was “miraculous” that the children managed to leave unharmed.

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