Candace Long just wanted to party. It was her birthday, after all. And she wasn't going to let her babysitting job -- or the frigid temperatures Florida had plunged into -- stop her. Indeed, even after her solitary party had ended, and she was in cuffs for child neglect, she was still ready to go, grinning from ear to ear.
Candace Long has just turned 28. And she might be the world's worst babysitter.
The Volusia County woman's troubles with minors began in 2005 when she was charged with two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, county court records show. (The disposition of that case wasn't clear.) In 2009, she was picked up again, this time for allegedly issuing a worthless check -- a charge that wasn't prosecuted.
Then things began to pick up steam, according to criminal records. In 2012, she was jailed for a night on charges of burglarizing an unoccupied building and criminal neglect. Last year, she vacuumed up a grab bag of additional charges -- battery, disorderly intoxication, battery of a law enforcement officer, trespassing, resisting arrest without violence, and disorderly intoxication (again).
With a rap sheet like this, there was really only one job she could snare without divulging her prolific past: babysitting. Last week -- just in time for her 28th birthday -- the mercury plunged to freezing, and Long picked up a job for the night. And while the father went to run errands, Long began to party.
Hours later, a neighbor named Tom Fordham ventured outside his Daytona Beach house to find a blond-haired, chubby-cheeked woman who had a nasty bruise swelling against her right eye. The woman was unconscious, and she was holding a 2-year-old child, who was shoeless and soaked in urine.
He called the cops: "The kid's not dressed for this weather," he told dispatchers.
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When police arrived, they roused Long, who could neither identify the boy, explain why her face was bruised, nor what had happened. All she said: It was her birthday. And it was time to party.
She was charged with neglect of a child and remains in Indian Lake Jail, where she's still smiling.