A Temple Terrace mother and father were charged with abuse and neglect after their 10-year old daughter was found wandering around the Doral Oaks apartment complex.
Investigators say the parents, Suzanne and William Frederick, put their 6-month-old baby boy in the closet for crying too much.
They also say the little girl was so fed up with the abuse she tried to set her apartment on fire.
David Cooper said it was almost dark when he saw the little girl barefoot, soaking wet and all alone.
"She began to tell me she was homeless and her house had burned down, and I'm like, 'Wow. I knew I had to help her,'" Cooper said.
He called 911.
Then he said her parents came around the corner to get her, but he said something didn't seem right.
"There were puddles of water, and they walked her straight through the water. And I'm like, really? There's a sidewalk right there, and they're walking her in the water," Cooper said.
But he had no idea what police would later find.
"She said she had been punished repeatedly by her parents," said Michael Dunn, Temple Terrace spokesman.
Investigators said the Fredericks forced their daughter to stand on one leg holding a weight for long periods of time, then switch legs and stand longer.
And they said there were other punishments.
"She had no bed. She slept on the floor," Dunn said. "Her baby brother, six months old, was put into the closet to shut him up basically, and there was no a/c vent in the closet."
Police said the Fredericks told them their baby boy was crying too much.
They said the little girl was so frustrated, she set fire to a Styrofoam cooler in the kitchen.
But no one ever knew because her parents never reported it.
Police arrested them along with their roommate, Richard Quesenberry, who's charged with lying to police.
"Yeah, she was definitely trying to get somebody's attention," Cooper said.
Cooper said he just happened to come home at the right time.
If he hadn't, police say, the abuse might still be going on.
"With a 6-month-old baby in the closet, the crib in the closet, it's ridiculous," Cooper said. "It's amazing. I'm happy I was there at that time and was able to do something about it."
The little girl and her brother are in protective custody.
A judge set bond for William Frederick at $1,500 and $1,000 for his wife, Suzanne.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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