Cops: Mom out ‘clubbing’ left daughter, 11, to ask neighbors for food

Meara Fisher didn’t want to call the cops at first when the 11-year-old daughter of her neighbor came to her Marietta apartment and asked for food. She didn’t want to make a bad situation worse.

So Fisher made the girl all she had: toast and noodles.

The girl said her mother, Deborah Ann Oats, was out clubbing but would be back in 15 minutes. Seven hours later, Fisher called the non-emergency police line.

On Friday morning nearly a week after her arrest, Oats remained in Cobb jail with a bond of $11,220 for a second-degree child cruelty charge, records showed.

Fisher tried to take the girl back to the apartment one unit up and over last Saturday night, but she said she couldn’t let the girl stay there another minute.

“It looked like furniture was overturned,” Fisher told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “ ... There was excrement everywhere.”

Police said the girl was placed into custody of the state Division of Family and Children Services.

When Marietta police arrived early Sunday and took a look at the Bells Ferry Road apartment where the girl had been living, they found feces, along with fleas and ticks from the dog and three cats living there.

There was “a colony of roaches” scattered throughout the apartment, which didn’t have air conditioning, according to a police warrant.

There was dog food and dirty dishes in the sink and fungus and roaches in the refrigerator and freezer, the warrant said.

Fisher, who didn’t go in, said there was barely a path to the bedroom. She said she was reluctant to call the authorities for the girl’s safety.

“I grew up in a similar situation, and in my experience calling someone in that situation can be not as helpful,” she said. “I didn’t want her to get hurt because I did something.”

Cops eventually got in touch with Oats, who was at an address “which is known to be in a drug area,” according to the warrant.

“I should have done something a long time ago,” Fisher said.

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